What are the most worrying threats in 2015? ISIS, Iran’s nuclear program, climate change or economic instability?
The following charts visualize the results of a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in Spring 2015 with 45,000 persons from 40 different countries. Each line represents a country and the percentage of people who say they are “very concerned” by one (or more) of the 7 proposed threats. All images are under a CC-BY-SA license and may be freely reused with a link to this post.
Islamic State: a major concern in most Western countries
ISIS is the “top concern” in 14 countries, including most of the western countries surveyed and countries more directly concerned (Lebanon, Jordan, Palestinian territories). Yet it appears that this threat is less likely to be mentioned by people who refer to climate change as the top concern.
Climate change: top concern in Africa, South America and Asia
Among the populations of the 40 countries surveyed, global climate change is 19 times the top concern. We observe that this concern is coupled with the fear of economic instability. It mainly affects countries with a modest average purchasing power.
ISIS vs. Global climate change as “top concern”: a clear division
The graph below shows a world clearly divided: on one side the countries where the perceived threat is climate change, and on the other side countries where the Islamic state is considered the main threat. Three countries are positioned between these two poles.
Situation in Europe
According to the results of the surveyed countries, Europe is the scene of a regional threat: the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has the consequence that the Ukrainian population (and their Polish neighbors) is concerned about the tensions with Russia. Russian respondents, on their side, are primarily concerned about economic instability (result of the Ukrainian crisis?). While Western Europe is a pioneer in raising awareness of climate change, this threat seems not to be a major concern.
Situation in the United States
The particularity of the United States is the high level of concern related to the Iranian nuclear program (higher than in Israel), and regarding Cyber-attacks. Relations with China and Russia are also more concerning than in the European countries surveyed.