Most think social media has made it easier to manipulate and divide people, but they also say it informs and raises awareness.
Despite the many depressing stories dominating the international news cycle, there is also a note of positivity among survey respondents in views of the UN, the benefits of international cooperation for solving problems and the importance of common values for bringing nations together.
A median of 68% across 19 countries think their country has done a good job dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, with majorities saying this in every country surveyed except Japan. However, most also believe the pandemic has created greater divisions in their societies and exposed weaknesses in their political systems – and these view are especially common in the U.S.
As democratic nations have wrestled with economic, social and geopolitical upheaval in recent years, the future of liberal democracy has come into question. Our international surveys reveal key insights into how citizens think about democratic governance.
Nearly 19,000 adults in publics ranging from the UK, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Germany, and the U.S., among others, share where they find meaning in their lives and what keeps them going.
Family is preeminent for most publics but work, material well-being and health also play a key role.
The U.S. is seen positively in advanced economies for its technology, entertainment, military and universities, but negatively for its health care system, discrimination and the state of its democracy.
Dissatisfaction with the functioning of democracy is linked to concerns about the economy, the pandemic and social divisions.
Wide majorities in most of the 17 advanced economies surveyed say having people of many different backgrounds improves their society, but most also see conflicts between partisan, racial and ethnic groups.
In Response to Climate Change, Citizens in Advanced Economies Are Willing To Alter How They Live and Work
Citizens offer mixed reviews of how their societies have responded to climate change, and many question the efficacy of international efforts to stave off a global environmental crisis.
Despite an uptick in positive views of the economy in some places, many say that children will be worse off financially than their parents.
Unfavorable views of China also hover near historic highs in most of the 17 advanced economies surveyed.
Publics disagree about whether restrictions on public activity, such as stay-at-home orders or mandates to wear masks in public, have gone far enough to combat COVID-19.
More countries see climate change as a top international threat, but many people also name ISIS and cyberattacks as their top security concern.