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World Review 2021: 10 Stories That Will Matter in 2022
Gallup Blog

World Review 2021: 10 Stories That Will Matter in 2022

Were our lives in the second year of the pandemic any better than they were in the first? What can year two teach us about what to expect -- and how to thrive -- in year three?

We begin trying to answer these questions by taking stock in some of the biggest global discoveries that Gallup made in 2021 while looking forward to what's in store for this year.

U.S. Approval Ratings Rallied From Record Lows: Six months into Joe Biden's presidency, approval ratings of U.S. leadership around the world had largely rebounded from the record-low ratings observed during the Donald Trump administration. As of August 2021, median approval of U.S. leadership stood at 49%.

New in 2022: Gallup will look at how approval ratings of U.S. leadership changed -- or didn't change -- after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and how they look in the second year of the Biden administration. We will also explore how Russia's and China's leadership have fared in their regions and across the world.

Soft Power: Germany Gets Record-High Approval From World: The world's approval of Germany's leadership during Chancellor Angela Merkel's last full year in office in 2020 hit a new record high, not only for Germany but for any global leader in more than a decade.

New in 2022: Gallup will look at how approval ratings of Germany's leadership change -- or don't change -- without Merkel at the helm.

Environment Efforts: Which Countries Are Falling Short? Ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, majorities of people in a host of top carbon-emitting countries-- many of the same ones that issued new climate pledges -- were dissatisfied with efforts to safeguard the environment.

New in 2022: Find out what people think about their country's action -- or inaction -- on the environment after the commitments made at COP26.

Over 1 Billion Worldwide Unwilling to Take COVID-19 Vaccine: The majority of adults worldwide (68%) told Gallup that they would agree to be vaccinated if a coronavirus vaccine were available to them at no cost. However, like the global number, in most countries, the percentages fell short of the numbers needed for herd immunity.

New in 2022: Gallup will show where the world stands in its willingness to take COVID vaccines and where access to the jab is still an aspiration.

Serious Depression, Anxiety Affect Nearly 4 in 10 Worldwide: A new Wellcome Global Monitor study revealed that in 2020, close to one in five adults (19%) said they personally had felt so anxious or depressed that they could not continue their regular daily activities for two weeks or longer, and another 19% said this had happened to a family member or close friend.

New Record for Negative Emotions: In 2020, the world was feeling the worst it had in 15 years. The year was officially the most stressful in recent record, and experiences of worry, sadness and anger also rose worldwide.

New in 2022: Find out whether 2021 shattered the records set in 2020 or the world experienced an emotional reset.

Law and Order Survives the Pandemic: The pandemic upended a lot of things in people's lives, but Gallup's latest update on its annual Law and Order Index shows that, so far, it didn't fundamentally alter how safe most of the world feels or shake people's faith in the rule of law. About seven in 10 people worldwide in 2020 said they feel safe walking alone at night where they live (72%).

New in 2022: Find out whether people still feel safe and how much confidence they have in their police to keep them safe.

Women Worldwide Not Getting Tests That Could Save Their Lives: The inaugural Hologic Global Women's Health Index showed that during the first year of the pandemic, more than six in 10 women worldwide -- over 1.5 billion -- did not get tested for cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes or sexually transmitted diseases.

New in 2022: Learn what Hologic and Gallup discovered from their second global survey about women's health challenges in the light of the pandemic and beyond.

Economy, Not Election, Troubled Myanmar Before Coup: While Myanmar's military claimed that massive voter fraud in the November elections forced it to stage a coup, most voters in Myanmar were highly confident in the honesty of their country's elections in 2020. People were far more worried about the economy: 80% said it was a bad time to find a job in their local area.

New in 2022: Find out how the lives of people in Myanmar have been affected since the coup and what their top concerns are now.

Afghans in Crisis Before U.S. Withdrawal: Gallup World Poll data in recent years have painted an increasingly difficult economic situation throughout the country as Afghans have struggled to afford the basics. Just before the February 2020 signing of the U.S.-Taliban peace deal, more than seven in 10 Afghans (72%) reported that there had been times in the past 12 months when their household lacked enough money for food.

New in 2022: Learn what life is like in Afghanistan after the Taliban's return to power.

To stay up to date with the latest Gallup News insights and updates, follow us on Twitter.

Read more 2021 findings from Gallup's surveys in the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa.

Learn more about how the Gallup World Poll works.

For complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.


Julie Ray is a writer and editor at Gallup.

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