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Poverty & Homelessness Most Serious Issues Globally

UNITED NATIONS, Jan 8 2015 (IPS) - A recently conducted poll released January 8th by GlobeScan and Oxfam International shows a dramatic increase in the concerns of German and Spanish citizens about the seriousness of poverty and homelessness in their countries.

A total of 24,000 citizens across 24 countries were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone on inequality, poverty and homelessness.

Polling was conducted by GlobeScan and its research partners in each country.

“This poll is powerful evidence that, all over the world, the public clamour to tackle inequality and poverty is growing and hardening by the day. Our political and business leaders will ignore this at their peril”, said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director at Oxfam International.

Poverty and homelessness continue as top-tier concerns with majorities in 15 of the 24 countries polled seeing these as very serious problems. Other high level concerns are crime and violence, unemployment and the rising cost of food and energy.

In 12 of the 24 countries polled, the perceived seriousness of poverty and homelessness has either increased or remained stable at a high level since the question was last fielded in 2012.

The most significant increases in perceived seriousness over the last two years were found in Germany where it has increased from 24 per cent to 44 per cent and in Spain where it has increased from 76 per cent to 86 per cent.

GlobeScan Foundation president Doug Miller commented: “The current media focus on the growing gap between rich and poor has been deeply felt by citizens in the world over since we first asked about it in 2008. In a number of countries, the strong sense of unfairness threatens to undermine the basic social contract that has hept both risk and poor working towards common end.”

According to the poll, citizens look primarily to government to show leadership on addressing issues of economic and social justice. 59 per cent select government when asked who should lead on this, compared to only 13 per cent for large companies and 6 per cent for trade unions. Another 12 per cent say « all of them » should be collectively responsible.

Poverty and homelessness are seen as the most serious issues globally according to GlobScan; especially in Spain, Nigeria, Chile, France and Peru.

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