Skip to navigationSkip to content

The world, mapped by countries’ greatest fears

Pedestrians wearing masks walk on a street during a hazy day in Beijing October 10, 2014. Widespread smog has affected a large part of north China including capital Beijing as the National Meteorological Center (NMC) extended a yellow alert on Thursday for air pollution, Xinhua News Agency reported.
Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Can you guess what the largest fear of the Chinese is?
By Jeanne Kim
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

The biggest fear among the Japanese is, unsurprisingly, nuclear weapons. People in South Africa, Kenya, and Uganda are most worried about AIDS and other diseases. And inequality is the deepest concern for much of Europe and the US.

These are among the findings of Pew Research Center’s survey of over 48,000 people in 44 countries this spring (so, it’s worth noting, pre-Ebola pandemic). The survey asked people to choose among five categories of threat: AIDS and other diseases, nuclear weapons, pollution and environment, inequality, and religious and ethnic hatred.

Here are those 44 countries, mapped by their greatest fears:

By region, the Middle East saw religious and ethnic hatred as their biggest threat; Europe and the US saw the gap between the rich and poor as theirs; pollution and environmental issues caused the most dread in Asia; Latin America mostly feared nuclear weapons; and Africans saw AIDS and other diseases as their greatest danger.

A few other things we noticed:

  • Other than Japan, the countries that saw nuclear weapons as their biggest danger included Russia (29%), Ukraine (36%), Brazil (28%), and Turkey (34%).
  • The UK’s greatest concern was religious and ethnic hatred (39%), putting it in the same group as India (25%), Israel (30%), the Palestinian territories (40%), Lebanon (58%), and Malaysia (32%).
  • People in France were equally divided on what they consider the biggest threat, with 32%, saying inequality and the same percentage saying religious and ethnic hatred.
  • Likewise in Mexico, nuclear weapons and pollution were tied as most menacing, at 26%.

Click here for more surprising discoveries.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.