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How guilty do American, British, French and German people feel about the poor?

Published 26 August 2019 in Surveys

In all four countries (France, Germany, the UK and the US) the percentage of people who say they feel guilty for being unaware of the everyday needs of poor people in developing countries is almost exactly the same as the percentage who say they do not feel guilty at all.

Only one third of citizens say they feel guilty for being indifferent or unaware of poverty in developing countries. Another third say they do not. Between 5-7% say they do not know, and almost another third say they do not have an opinion. A feeling of ’guilt’ does not therefore appear to be a strong lever for action or commitment.

The percentages between countries are very similar: for example 38% of French people, 35% of Germans, 34% of British and 31% of Americans recognise this feeling of guilt.

Analysing the differences in results to this question across countries is a very difficult, given cultural, historic or religious contexts which have an influence on the values and perceptions of solidarity.

This data comes from our survey conducted by the YouGov Institute and piloted by the research team at University College London and the University of Birmingham as part of the project Aid Attitudes Tracker which measures the evolution of opinions and behaviors on issues of international solidarity in four countries.

Further reading

Retrouvez la méthodologie du projet Aid Attitudes Tracker

Documents to download

Retrouvez la méthodologie du projet Aid Attitudes Tracker