How the world sees the future

In June, Gallup International published its end-of-year survey, this time as an anniversary booklet celebrating 75 years of international polling by Gallup (

Being an anniversary edition, it goes beyond the traditional topics like personal hopes and economic expectations, and looks into new ones like attitudes towards the world’s superpowers and expectations for the future.

So what (we think) will change in the next 25 years?

When it comes to health, 58% of the global population believes, rather surprisingly, that, over the next 25 years, people will actually become less healthy. A third disagrees while 10% are undecided.

However, people around the world think that relatively soon there will be vaccines that will help in eradicating diseases that are currently hard to cure. 71% of respondents asked are positive that over the next 25 years vaccines and medicines are going to be available to eradicate diseases such as polio and AIDS. 18% of the respondents disagree and just over a tenth are still unsure.

When asked about (emerging) rights, 50% agree that in the next 25 years a 4-day working week will be the norm around the world. 38% are rather doubtful and 12% refuse to answer or do not know.

Confidence in a 4-day working week is most likely to be found in UAE, India, Ireland and Canada, with shares of agreement up to 70%. Citizens of Peru, Sweden, Ecuador and Italy are much more doubtful.

On same-sex marriage, 45% of respondents around the world think that over the next quarter of a century same-sex marriage will be a recognised right. Yet 44% disagree. The rest cannot tell.

Thailand, Spain, Slovenia, Ireland and France are among the top countries to believe that same-sex marriage will be legally recognised. On the opposite side stand out countries like Armenia, Indonesia, India and Senegal, with much smaller shares of agreement.

68% of respondents agree that in the foreseeable future women will have equal salaries with men. 23% however disagree and 9% cannot say. Younger generations, people with higher income and people with higher education are more confident that men and women will soon have equal wages.

As for the economy, 47% of people around the world feel that the US dollar will lose its role as the world’s leading currency over the next 25 years. 34% share the opposite opinion, while 19% are unsure.

On the other hand, 49% of the people worldwide believe that in 25 years fossil fuels will still power the world, rather than alternative energy sources. 35% do not agree and 16% are unsure.

Most people agreeing with this statement are in UAE, Côte d’Ivoire, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The lowest share of agreement is registered in countries like India, Argentina, South Korea, Japan and Peru.

Now, of course, what we think will happen 25 years from now tells more about ourselves than about the future. The anticipated changes are not always the ones that arrive. But what we anticipate tells a lot about our hopes and expectations, and therefore about ourselves, the ones living today.

So how are we today, globally speaking? Well, we still seem to doubt the capacity of alternative energy sources to replace fossil fuel. We also doubt – and this is something relatively new – the ability of the US dollar to reign supreme in international transactions.

At the same time, we are rather hopeful that a 4-day working week will soon become the norm. We also tend to hope that same-sex marriages will get legal recognition, and we clearly favour equal pay for men and women.

All in all, we seem alright.