Young people and women have been hit hardest psychologically and financially by the pandemic, a YouGov survey has found – but few people anywhere are planning to change their lives in the wake of it.
The annual YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project found that in many of the 27 countries surveyed, young people were consistently more likely than their elders to believe the Covid crisis had made their financial and mental health problems worse.
In France, nearly half (47%) of people aged 18 to 24 said the pandemic had taken its toll on their mental health, compared with just a quarter (25%) of people aged 55 or older, with many other countries in Europe and around the world showing a surprisingly similar picture.
In Germany, 38% of young people said Covid had been bad for their mental health, compared to 22% of older people. In Sweden the gaps were 42% to 19%, in Spain and Italy 51% to 39%, in Great Britain from 50% to 25%, in Australia from 51% to 28% and in Mexico from 41% at 18%.
Comparable proportions of young and old said they were more concerned with money due to the pandemic, while in several measures, women were also consistently more likely than men to report a negative impact of the pandemic. crisis.
In many countries, women said they were more concerned about their personal finances, mental health and stress at work than men, with 55% in Britain saying their working life was more stressful compared to 36% of men, and 42% against 60% in Spain.
Only small portions of the total population of English-speaking Northern and Western Europe said the pandemic affected their personal finances: 27% in France, 24% in Germany (24%), 15% in Sweden, 22 % UK, 29% Australia and 27% US.
However, increasing numbers have said the same elsewhere, notably in Spain (40%), Italy (43%), Greece (50%), Hungary (46%) and Poland (38%), and even more in countries like Brazil. (54%), Thailand (68%), Kenya (75%) and South Africa (59%).
A similar geographic distribution was clear when people were asked if the pandemic worried them more about money: 70% or more in Greece, Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, Kenya and South Africa, again. once with a third or less in UK (31%), Sweden (24%) and Denmark (15%).
Other aspects of life told a similar story. Spaniards (44%), Italians (47%) and Greeks (58%) were more likely to say the pandemic had negatively impacted their mental health, as were Brazilians (46%), Japanese ( 45%) and Thailand (61%).
People in Mediterranean countries – 41% in Spain, 50% in Italy and 61% in Greece – were again more likely to say the pandemic had ruined their plans for the future, with Turkey (51%), Thailand (57%) and South Africa (51%) also high.
Optimism about the future was highest outside of Europe, however, with Brazil (63%), Mexico (57%), Egypt (55%), Saudi Arabia (70%) ), India (61%), Indonesia (73%), Kenya (81%), Nigeria (88%) and South Africa (63%) all have high levels.
In continental Europe, about a third or less said they were optimistic about their personal future: from France (29%) and Germany (34%) to Spain (34%) to Italy (27 %), Greece (24%) 34% and Poland (32%). Britain, Australia, the United States and Canada were slightly more optimistic at 42%, 45%, 43% and 44%.
Contrary to many predictions made at the start of the pandemic, the survey also showed that for most people around the world, Covid-19 had not drastically changed their lifestyle choices or lifestyles, such as working. home.
Among employees in positions where working from home was possible, by far the largest proportion in most of the countries surveyed said that they would ideally choose to work from home some of the time or not at all, rather than ” most of the time ”or“ all of the time ”.
When asked if the pandemic prompted them to make or seriously consider major changes in their lives, such as moving to another region or country, changing careers, or separating from a partner, a still low percentage in the world answered yes.
In the majority of cases, the figures were in single digits or only slightly higher: 10% or less said they decided to move to another part of the country in France (7%), Germany (7%), Denmark (4%), Italy (8%), Greece (10%), Hungary (5%), Poland (6%), Great Britain (4%), Australia (8%), United States (9%) and Canada (7%).
The numbers for each type of change were generally higher in the non-Western world: about one in five had changed careers because of the coronavirus in South Africa (21%), Kenya (20%), Thailand (19% ), in Saudi Arabia. Arabia (22%) and Brazil (22%).
Other measures have also painted a generally less dramatic picture of most people going on mainly with their lives. When asked, for example, if they sleep, exercise, drink or eat healthily more or less than before the pandemic, most people did not report any overall changes.
The survey also found that the pandemic had a more beneficial effect on relationships with close family and partners than with those with friends, colleagues or neighbors, with only tiny minorities in the world tending to report. that the crisis had made relations “less close” with partners or descendants.