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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Press Release

Global poll: Corruption is world's most talked about problem

Corruption is the world's most frequently discussed global problem, according to a new BBC poll for the BBC World Service, surveying more than 13,000 people across 26 countries.

The findings show that more than one in five (21%) of those polled said they had discussed corruption and greed with friends and family over the past month, making it the most talked about global problem, ahead of climate change (20%), extreme poverty and hunger (18%), unemployment (16%), and the rising cost of food and energy (15%).

Issued on UN International Anti-Corruption Day, the BBC World Speaks poll, conducted by GlobeScan on behalf of BBC World Service, showed corruption was particularly likely to have been discussed by developing-world citizens, including respondents in Kenya (63%), Nigeria (49%), Indonesia (45%), and India (30%).

But significant numbers in industrialised countries such as Italy (14%), Spain (13%), and Canada (11%) had also discussed it.

In a separate question, respondents were also asked to rate the seriousness of 14 global problems.

As well as being the most talked about issue, corruption was also rated as the second most serious problem, with 68 per cent on average rating it as very serious. Only extreme poverty was rated as more serious (69%).

Poverty thus emerged as the most serious perceived global problem for the second year in succession.

Majorities in all but four of the countries polled rated corruption as a very serious problem, with Brazilians (96%), Egyptians (91%), Colombians (88%), Filipinos (87%) and Kenyans (86%) most likely to rate it as very serious; but it was also rated among the most serious issues in China (73%), the USA (68%), Russia (67%) and India (66%). In Europe, Italians were the most concerned about corruption (72%).

After corruption, environmental pollution (64% very serious), terrorism (61%), human rights abuses and the rising cost of food and energy (both 59%) were rated as the next most serious issues.

The results are drawn from a survey of 13,353 adult citizens across 26 countries and the poll was commissioned by the BBC to understand which global issues those surveyed consider most serious.

It was conducted for BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan.

GlobeScan coordinated fieldwork between June and September 2010. Results within countries are considered accurate within +/- 3.0 to 4.9% 19 times out of 20.

GlobeScan Research Director Sam Mountford said: "It's clear from this poll that people around the world view corruption as a major issue in their lives. It's the number one most talked about global problem, and rated the second most serious.

"We shouldn't be surprised that people are venting their frustration about a problem that often stops governments getting to grips with the raft of other serious challenges that they are now seen to be facing."

Notes to Editors

In total 13,353 citizens in 26 countries were interviewed face-to-face, online (for Japan only), or by telephone between June 24 and September 18, 2010. Polling was conducted for BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan and its research partners in each country. In nine of the 26 countries, the sample was limited to major urban areas. The margin of error per country ranges from +/- 3.0 to 4.9 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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