Singaporeans increasingly anxious due to Covid-19 and general election


By Shawn Lim | Reporter, Asia Pacific

September 25, 2020 | 4 min read

Singapore is more anxious than ever because of the Covid-19 pandemic and high-tension national events such as the general election.

This is according to the Anxiety Index, which was launched in July to measure key stressors – such as health, economics, politics and social issues – in order to inform policy, strategy and communications.


Covid-19 is, understandably, the biggest worry, but mental health and depression are also concerns – particularly for youths

The research, carried out by Wunderman Thompson, surveyed 500 Singaporeans and involved in-depth interviews. “The study showed the criticality of money, with economic anxieties dominating over health, safety and social tensions,” says Malati Afridi, head of experience at Wunderman Thompson Singapore.

“What also emerged was a recalibration of life. People are wanting to stay close to family and are rethinking what they want from jobs and how they live their lives.”

What does the Anxiety Index say?

  • 74% of Singaporeans are anxious, which is almost as high as Americans at 76%.

  • 35- to 39-year-olds are the most anxious at 80.3%, compared with 61.5% of 55- to 59-year-olds.

  • 75% feel that the media plays a large role in making them feel anxious.

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  • Economic anxieties dominate all fears, followed by environment, health and technology respectively.

  • There are two dominant fears: the fear of contracting Covid-19 in public spaces and the fear of long-term disruption to economy.

  • Compared to the US survey in March, Singaporeans are more anxious about all issues (economics, safety, technology, health, environment and social issues) except governance.

  • Covid-19 is, understandably, the biggest worry, but mental health and depression are also concerns – particularly for youths.

  • 71% think people in general should work from home, if possible, but only 56% say they actually do.

  • More than half of Singaporeans are worried about the proportion of foreigners in the professional workforce as well as the number of immigrants in the country. Men, people over 35 and those with kids are most anxious about migrant workers and foreigners.

  • 56% do not expect Covid-19 to be under control until 2021 or later.

  • 82% say they want to stay in Singapore to be close to family and parents.

  • 78% are rethinking how they live their life.

  • 74% are reconsidering what they want from jobs and work.


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