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A Changed World? Perceptions and experiences of risk in the Covid age

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A door with a 'sorry we're closed' sign on it.

In a rapidly changing world, understanding the risks individuals face, and how they perceive them, is crucial to keeping people safe.

This first report of the 2021 World Risk Poll provides new global insights that identify the differences between people’s thoughts about, and experiences of risk before and after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The findings can be used by governments, regulators, businesses, NGOs, and communities to target their policies and carry out meaningful interventions where it’s most needed.

Download the report and citation information

Click here to download (pdf/3.5mb) DOI 10.60743/e82c-e447

An introduction to the report

Experts from the World Health Organisation and Lloyd's Register Foundation discuss the report's findings.

Key findings

  • The Poll shows a small but notable global increase in the number of people who feel less safe than they did five years previously, from 30% in 2019 to over a third (34%) in 2021. Surprisingly, however, Covid-19 did not factor highly in most people’s safety concerns.
  • Instead, perennial risks such as road crashes and crime and violence were the most named threats to people's safety - a reminder that, even in the midst of a global pandemic, there is a broad spectrum of competing risks that must be taken into account in influencing people’s safety-related choices and behaviour.
  • Mental health and severe weather are the areas of risk where people’s experience of harm increased most globally from 2019 to 2021, each rising by five percentage points. The rise in mental health issues was seen across regions and nations of different income levels.
  • More than two thirds (67%) of people globally view climate change as a threat to their country, down slightly from 69% in 2019. This includes more than two in five people (41%) who said climate change is “a very serious threat”, unchanged from 2019.

Stories

How serious a threat is climate change to people in your country in the next 20 years?

The data visualisation shows how responses to this question have changed from 2019 to 2021, by the proportion of people in each country who said climate change is a 'very serious' threat to people in their country in the next 20 years. Each line represents a country, and to what degree this response has increased or decreased.

Use your cursor to hover over each country line for more information. We recommend using a desktop or laptop device for the best user experience.

A Changed World

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