Inflation, housing, recession: These are Germany's biggest fears in 2022
In a year beset by gas crises, record-breaking inflation and eight months of war in Europe, German concerns about finances have been pushed into overdrive in 2022, according to the latest edition of the "Fears of the Germans" annual survey.
What does Germany fear most in 2022?
Every year for more than 30 years, R+V Versicherung, an insurance company in Germany, has been asking people in the federal republic what they are most concerned about. Year after year, the Fears of the Germans report has acted as a barometer for the country’s overall mental state, and pinpointed its specific worries.
The results of the 2022 survey have just been released, and show that the Germans are more worried than they have been for years. Although R+V previously said that the Germans were not “by nature, worrywarts”, in 2022 the general level of anxiety “rose by 6 percentage points and, at 42 percent, reached its highest level in four years,” study leader Grischa Brower-Rabinowitsch told reporters in Berlin on Thursday.
She explained that financial fears in particular have shot up over the past year. “That anxious peek into one’s bank account balance is causing financial fears to skyrocket,” Brower-Rabinowitsch said. “Overall, people are significantly more worried than they were a year ago.”
Cost of living, housing and recession top list of concerns
For the study, more than 2.400 people were asked about their biggest concerns about politics, the economy, the environment, family and health. Reflecting the big issues of the moment - in a year in which inflation has risen to a rate not seen in over 50 years - 67 percent of people named the rising cost of living as their biggest concern. This is a 17-percentage-point increase on last year, when inflation ranked as people’s second-biggest fear.
This year’s second-biggest fear - a new entry for 2022 - is the concern that housing is becoming unaffordable. 57 percent said they were concerned about a recession (a jump of 17 percentage points since last year), while 52 percent said they were concerned that the government would permanently increase taxes or cut social security benefits in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. Interestingly, however, only one in five people said they were worried about losing their job.
The current political circumstances are reflected in the huge rise in the number of people who are concerned about Germany becoming involved in a war. 42 percent of respondents named this as a prime concern in 2022, a 26-percentage-point increase compared to 2021. In the same vein, the rise of authoritarianism worldwide, something which has never appeared in the study before, jumped into the top 10 biggest concerns.
After a summer that witnessed historic droughts, 49 percent also said they were concerned about extreme weather and natural disasters. Fear of climate change also rose to become respondents’ eighth-biggest concern.
The Germans’ greatest fears in 2022
Overall, the following issues were named by the highest proportion of people as their greatest concerns in 2022:
- Rising cost of living (67 percent)
- Unaffordable housing in Germany (58 percent)
- Worsening economic situation (57 percent)
- Tax increases / benefit decreases due to COVID pandemic (52 percent)
- Taxpayers having to pay for the EU debt crisis (51 percent)
- Extreme weather / natural disasters (49 percent)
- Authoritarianism on the rise worldwide (47 percent)
- Climate change (46 percent)
- Government overwhelmed by refugee influx (45 percent)
- Political leaders overwhelmed (44 percent)
You can read the full report (in German) on the R+V Versicherung website.