Environmental Worries Outpace Socio-economic Concerns 

The Myth of the Green Backlash: People Are Showing More Concern about Environmental Issues than Socio-economic Issues

According to GlobeScan’s global public opinion research, people have shown more concern about environmental issues than socio-economic issues over the past decade. GlobeScan’s Radar data show a significant increase in environmental concern after a low point in 2014 as tracked through two separate indices.

The index numbers displayed in the chart represent the average percentage of people considering issues in each index as “very serious” across the 16 countries tracked over time. A higher index number indicates more significant concern, on average, for the issues depicted in the index. Environmental issues include air pollution, biodiversity loss, climate change, shortages of fresh water, water pollution, and depletion of natural resources and socio-economic issues include the spread of human diseases, extreme poverty in the world, the global economy, the gap between rich and poor, unemployment, and human rights abuses.

The results indicate that people are currently more focused on environmental issues than socio-economic issues, with a notable difference in concern between the proportion of people who rate environmental issues and socio-economic issues as “very serious,” even though people in emerging economies tend to express slightly higher levels of concern about socio-economic issues.


Based on a largely representative online survey of nearly 30,000 people across 31 countries and territories, Radar draws upon GlobeScan’s unique database of over two decades of polling public opinion about people’s outlook toward societal actors and the issues affecting them.

Survey Question: For each of the following possible global problems, please indicate if you see it as a very serious, somewhat serious, not very serious, or not at all serious problem. 

Source: GlobeScan Radar Trends Report (survey of 29,565 people in the general public across 31 countries and territories in July ‒ August 2023)