In July 2015, Pew Research released a report surveying more that 45,000 people in 50 nations, asking what global threats they feared the most. The topics of most concern focused on ISIS, climate change, cyberattacks, economic instability, and international disputes. So, what are countries afraid of? Well, across the board, climate change was of the greatest concern to the most countries. Regions of the world bordering oceans or containing rainforests – namely those in Africa, Asia, and especially Latin America rated it as a high priority. Burkina Faso, Brazil, and Peru were among most vulnerable, least prepared, and most concerned about climate change. Economic instability came in as a close second, understandably feared the most by poor countries.
Ghana, Spain, and Uganda had the strongest concerns about their economies, with Spain struggling in the EU, and the others among the world’s most impoverished nations. ISIS was also a significant worry, but for fewer countries than “economic instability” concerns. Particularly, Lebanon, Spain, and South Korea were the most worried about ISIS. Understandably, Lebanon is located near ISIS-invaded Syria. However, while Spain and South Korea have limited contact with the terrorist group, there have been recent reports of ISIS-related violence and ISIS recruitment among their citizens. Within this study, the United States was one of the most fearful nation across the board, while China had the lowest rates of extreme concern. Why is that? Well, a contributing factor may be related to the media in each country. America has a long history of news “fear mongering.” At the turn of the 20th century, overly sensationalist and provocative journalism were used to increase profits.
This, quote, “yellow journalism,” was even said to have contributed to the start of the Spanish-American war. The practice gained significant popularity, and has only increased today. Eamed political commentator Noam Chomsky has called the United States “an unusually frightened country.” By comparison, Chinese media, and in particular, Chinese TV, is “one of the most tightly state-controlled mass media” forms. This means that Chinese citizens are much more enthusiastic about government policies, and the nation’s overall health. A separate Pew Poll found that China has among the highest levels of confidence in their government, in the world. But, as with many reports on global trends, the original Pew survey on international concerns doesn’t really offer a full story on any one topic. There are more than 150 countries that remained outside of the survey’s scope, and poll results are often generalized.
Still, having a picture of what scares us the most does help address our common fears. The world is a scary place, but that doesn’t mean it’s all bad. Some of the happiest countries in the world still have major concerns on their plate. To learn more about which countries are happiest, check out this video. Thanks for watching, and don’t forget to subscribe! We have new videos coming out every day..