Monday, January 18, 2010

Global poll says poverty is the most serious global problem

The BBC conducted a worldwide survey asking people what they thought was the biggest worldwide concern. Extreme poverty was ranked as the most important by a good margin over the other problems.

The BBC questioned people in 23 different countries on what they though were the big problems facing the world. Over 25,000 people were interviewed for the survey. Respondents were given a list of problems and were asked to give their opinion of the degree of it's severity, ranging from 'very serious' to "not serious'.

From Domain b, we read more about the BBC survey

* 71% extreme poverty
* 64% the environment or pollution
* 63% the rising cost of food and energy
* 59% the spread of human diseases
* 59% terrorism
* 58% climate change
* 59% human rights abuses
* 58% the state of the global economy
* 57% war or armed conflict
* 48% violation of workers' rights

In this year's poll, poverty was rated as the most serious global issue in 10 of the countries polled, including in the UK, US, Kenya, Australia, Brazil and Chile. However, in Russia, Turkey, Mexico, Indonesia and Nigeria more felt that the rising cost of food and energy was very serious.

The poll, which was conducted before the Copenhagen summit took place, also found that the Japanese were the only nation to regard climate change as the most serious global issue – although the Chinese and Costa Ricans identified environmental issues more generally or pollution as the most serious.

The Chines ranked climate change as the second most serious issue, whereas Americans ranked it ninth.
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If poverty is seen as the world's most serious problem, it is not the most top-of-mind. When respondents were asked to name spontaneously 'the most important issue facing the world today', economic problems were most commonly cited, with one in four mentioning them (26%). Terrorism and war followed with 10 per cent.

And while poverty was some distance ahead of other global issues in terms of how serious it was seen to be, it was only one of a number of issues that people had discussed with friends and family recently. The greatest number - 30 per cent - said they had talked about rising food and energy costs with their friends and family recently, with extreme poverty and the spread of human diseases the second most discussed issues (29 per cent) and the state of the global economy third (28 per cent).

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