Flanders: 8 out of 10 people are worried about the state of the world

Flanders: 8 out of 10 people are worried about the state of the world

As many as eight out of 10 Flemish people are worried about the current state of the world, according to a survey conducted by Humo.

On Tuesday, Humo presented the results of 1,000 person Great Fear survey, with the aim of quantifying the fears and angsts of the Flemish population.

Covid-19, the war in Ukraine as well resulting financial crises from both events, seems to have had a bearing on Flemish feelings of anxiety, with no less than 82% of respondents now worried about rising prices and their own financial situation.

The Brussels Times has crunched the numbers of this study.

Who's got the energy for ever-rising prices ?

The fear associated to rising prices seems to one of the strongest as 87% of those surveyed said that they were afraid, worried or alarmed that energy prices will become unaffordable. With 8 out of 10 of those with children fearing that life will be unaffordable for their next of kin.

This anxiety has seen a sharp increase in recent years, as three years ago only 37% of the respondents stated that  they were worried about their spending habits three years ago, compared to 73% in 2022.

This is also reflected by Flemish people's dread of not being able to pay their bills: more than half (56%) of those polled stating that it was a curent concern of theirs, up from 25% three years before.

War and Peace

Because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, 78% of respondents expressed fear, worry, or anxiety that Russian aggression will extend to other countries. With the same number of respondents responding that three years ago, this was not a concern of theirs. A third of the Flemish population even fear a Russian invasion of their homeland.

The figures show that war is a greater concern among the over-55s (86%) than for those under the age of 34 (69%).

There is also a growing fear of nuclear warfare, with 7 out of 10 Flemings describing nuclear war as a genuine danger, compared to only a quarter three years ago.

Health hazards

The study also sought to identify the role health plays in Flemish fears and anxieties.

New diseases seem to strike the most fear in the hearts of those asked with 73%, followed by increased anxiety over mental health (63%).

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Unsurprisingly, health-related fears are higher now than they were three years ago, with concerns over a large-scale pandemic being 50% higher than before the outbreak of Covid-19 (75 % compared to 25% in 2019.)

The worry that Belgian health care may become unaffordable has also grown, with it being a concern among 61.7% of those polled, up from 40% three years earlier.

Politics of fear

This is exacerbated by the fact that the widening gap between the poor and rich is the number one political concern among 82% of the Flemish population, which is a 15% increase over three years ago.

When questioned about the rise of political extremes in Belgium, the fear of the far-right (46%) outnumbers that of the far-left (36%), but 3 out of 5 Flemish people do fear that Belgium could become ungovernable.

Climate of uncertainty

Not only are 8 in 10 Flemings concerned about global warming and extreme weather conditions, but they are also anxious that the climate transition will cost too much money.

This potential financial concern is present among 7 out of 10 people, especially among the over-55s (80%) compared to the under-34s (63%).

Demographic differences

The study also wanted to grasp the various concerns of different genders, ages and educational levels in Flanders.

Women appeared to be substantially more anxious about rising costs, their personal financial status, and terrorism than males, according to the research.

Older respondents in particular seem to be more anxious than their younger counterparts, about war, health care, the political situation in Belgium and Europe, and different digitisation processes.

Furthermore, persons with less education are more likely to be fearful, anxious, or disturbed than those with a higher education.

This is true in practically every area of worry, but it is especially true when it comes to their own employment, war, terrorism, crime in their own neighbourhood, migration, and the current political climate.

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