Walden University Survey Reveals Social Change is a Global Phenomenon


Walden University

A new Walden University survey shows that "think globally, act locally" has become a worldwide mentality, with a majority of citizens around the world (73%, on average) agreeing that what happens in other parts of the world can impact their local community. The global survey also found high levels of engagement in social change, with three-quarters of adults (75%, on average) involved during the past six months, which most commonly included donating money, goods or services (41%, on average).

The Social Change Impact Report: Global Survey was commissioned by Walden University and conducted online by Harris Interactive in September 2011. A continuation from the American survey released in the fall, the Global Survey includes the perspectives of more than 12,000 adults in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Japan, Mexico, Spain and the United States and describes their perceptions on the importance of social change, the top issues in their country and the future of social change.

Global Citizens are Taking Action

On average, eight in 10 adults (81%) around the world say involvement in positive social change is important to them personally; adults in Mexico (95%), Brazil (93%), China (91%) and India (91%) are most likely to say it is very or somewhat important to be involved. While levels of engagement and importance vary by country, four in five adults (81%, on average) agree they want to be more involved in positive social change in the future.

Global Perspectives on Social Change Issues

This year brought heightened social change awareness with global challenges such as economic uncertainties, political uprisings, changing climate conditions, poverty, health issues and others at the forefront of societal concerns. Yet despite the various global challenges and issues, adults around the world on average said education (37%) is the most important issue for positive social change to address.

Social change issues of greatest importance vary by country, and where people live impacts their beliefs on social change issues. According to the survey, education is the most important social change issue in Brazil (63%), India (56%) and the United States (40%) and health issues are the most important for adults in France (46%), China (46%), Canada (43%) and Great Britain (36%).

Green is the Future

More than half of adults in each of the surveyed countries (66%, on average) say that the environment and "green" issues in other parts of the world will have a major impact on life in their own country in the next few years, particularly those in Mexico (83%) and Brazil (77%).

This view is particularly strong among young adults. In nearly all of the countries, young adults say the environment in other parts of the world is the top issue most likely to have a major impact on life in their own country (65%, on average), most commonly in Mexico (80%) and France (79%). The sole exception is in the United States, where conflict, war and terrorism in other parts of the world is the issue that is most likely to have a major impact at home (71%).