- More than half of U.S. adults say they’re fearful for what the year 2022 holds in store for both the U.S. (51%) and the world (54%).
- In addition to the grim outlook for the U.S. and the world, adults have less hope for themselves. 30% say they’re more fearful about what 2022 holds in store for themselves.
- Covid fatigue: 35% said they’d like to hear less about COVID-19 in 2022.
- Amid current concerns of inflation and economic woes, 50% expect 2022 to be a bad year for the U.S. economy.
- Politics remains top of mind for many: 17% cite ‘democracy’ as the most important issue—second to “jobs and the economy” at 31%.
2021 vies for the lead as ‘worst year’
About half (51%) of adults in the U.S. say they’re fearful for what the year 2022 holds in store for the country, and slightly more (54%) are fearful for what 2022 holds in store for the world, according to a new Axios|Momentive poll. The percentage who say they are fearful about what’s in store for the world exceeds last year’s 36% as well as the pre-pandemic results from 2018 (48%) and 2017 (52%).
Think 2020 was bad? This year vies to compete as most described their year to be “exhausting” (43%) and “worrisome” (43%), on par with 2020 levels (45% and 46%, respectively), but up substantially from 2018 (30% and 28%, respectively).
Lack of hope reaches an all-time high
In addition to the grim outlook for the U.S. and the world, adults have less hope for themselves. Three in 10 (30%) say they’re more fearful about what 2022 holds in store for themselves, reaching an all-time high compared to those who said the same in 2020 (25%), 2018 (22%), and 2017 (28%).
Older adults are most likely to have concerns about the upcoming year compared to younger generations. One in 4 (40%) of those in the Silent Generation and 36% of Boomers are fearful for what lies ahead in 2022 compared to only 16% of Gen Z.
Covid fatigue sets in
Almost two years into the pandemic, most adults say they’re feeling tired, and not necessarily due to symptoms of COVID-19. When asked about one thing they’d like to hear less of in the next year, about 3 in 10 (35%) said COVID-19.
Their pandemic fatigue may be, in part, led by the hope for it to improve in the next year. Around 6 in 10 (61%) say they’re hopeful about what 2022 holds in store for the pandemic. However, hope has waned compared to this time last year; more than 7 in 10 (76%) felt 2021 would bring relief to the pandemic.
Economic concerns carry over to 2022
Amid current concerns of inflation and supply chain woes, half (50%) of adults feel 2022 will be a bad year for the U.S. economy with almost 2 in 10 (17%) predicting it will be a “very bad year” for the economy. Despite Gen-Z’s usual optimism, this remains true across the majority of generations, yet white adults are among the most likely to have a negative outlook for the economy in the coming year (56%). In comparison, only 28% of Blacks, 44% of Hispanics, and 41% of Asians feel the same.
Politics remains top of mind for many: 17% cite ‘democracy’ as the most important issue—second to “jobs and the economy” at 31%. The issue of 'democracy' is particularly popular among those with a postgraduate degree (31%) and Democrats and Democratic leaners (24%). On the contrary, only 9% of those with a high school degree or less, 15% of Republicans and 7% of independents view the issue with the same level of importance.
Read more about our polling methodology here.
Click through all the results in the interactive toplines below: