In Latin America, Optimism and Resilience Rise Amid Safety Concerns
How do people in Latin America feel about the world today – and have their sentiments changed over the last five years?
We delved into this question via our recent study The Next Normal: Rise of Resilience, which surveyed 28,600 people aged 6 to 54 in 30 countries, including almost 4,800 across Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico. Here are key findings about respondents in Latin America:
They worry more about safety and stability. In Latin America, 62% say they feel less safe than five years ago – considerably above the global average of 37%. Several things worry them more than their global peers: crime and violence (70% more than global), the economy (48% more), what things cost (39% more), government leadership (35% more), the environment (31% more) and terrorism (30% more).
They have less faith in religious leaders, close friends, and even themselves. In Latin America, trust in religious leaders has fallen at an even faster pace than globally from 2012 to 2017 (down 38% in Latin America, down 33% globally). Trust in best friends has declined 17% in Latin America (down 13% globally), and trust in even their own personal judgment fell 27% (down 22% globally).
Yet they remain more content and slightly less stressed than people elsewhere. People in Latin America have their worries about the world but that doesn’t affect their mental state – 87% say they are happy, well above the global average of 76%. They are also slightly less stressed (29% Latin America, 32% global) and more likely to believe they can handle whatever life throws at them (84% Latin America, 71% global). Nearly 9 out of 10 (88%) say they always look to the positive.
Music relieves their anxiety. In Latin America, listening to music is the top method for relieving stress. (Globally, the top stress reliever is time with family and friends.) People there are much more likely to say that music is a source of inspiration (87% Latin America, 79% global), that they like to listen to songs on repeat (82% Latin America, 77% global), and that they love to dance alone in their rooms (63% Latin America, 56% global).
Their worldviews are expanding via their vast and widening social networks. The number of social network contacts in Latin America has exploded in recent years, growing to an average of 784 from 178 five years ago. In 2017, people in Latin America have social networks that are on average 45% larger than the global average of 538. Additionally, the number of online contacts that they’ve never met in real life has more than doubled, from an average of 23 in 2012 to 76 in 2017. These expansive networks give them access to new people and ideas that broaden their horizons.
They believe they can make a difference. In Latin America, 82% believe their age group has the power to change the world – above the global average of 78%. This belief is consistent across ages, from 6-year-olds to 54-year-olds.
They’re interested in the world, accepting of others, and taking action locally. In Latin America, 93% say they are curious about the world – higher than the global average of 89%. Virtually all believe that everyone should be treated with respect without regard for race, religion or sexuality (95% Latin America, 89% global). And 88% in Latin America say they’re active in their communities, compared with 81% globally.