The coronavirus outbreak stopped much of the world in its tracks in early 2020 and continues to cast doubt on the well-being of households and communities around the globe. But even before the pandemic, many people around the world felt pessimistic about income inequality, governance and job opportunities, according to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center in spring 2019.
Across 34 countries surveyed, a median of 65% of adults said they felt generally pessimistic about reducing the gap between the rich and the poor in their country. Many also held doubts about the way their political system works (median of 54%) and the availability of well-paying jobs in their country (53%). When it comes to their country’s education system, however, more people expressed optimism than pessimism (53% vs. 41%).
As the coronavirus outbreak has intensified, these four issues – inequality, politics, employment and education – have received new attention. The United Nations has cautioned that a lack of social protections could send millions back into poverty, while others have warned that the virus might harm democratic governance, lead to more job insecurity and force school closures across the globe.
In 25 of the 34 countries surveyed by the Center in 2019, income inequality was the most common area of pessimism among respondents. In seven other countries, it was the second-most frequently named area of concern. In France, 86% of adults said they felt generally pessimistic about reducing the gap between the rich and the poor – the highest share across the countries surveyed. Around eight-in-ten or more also said this in Spain (84%), Greece (82%) and Germany (79%).
Read the rest of the articles and graphs here at Pew Research Center