How NZ gets crime, immigration, unemployment & climate wrong

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Crime, immigration, unemployment and climate
change – how New Zealanders get it wrong: Ipsos ‘Perils
of Perception’ study

Wellington,
17th December 2018
– Ipsos’ latest ‘Perils of
Perception’ study shows which key facts the online public
[Interviews carried out online with adults aged under 65.
In countries with a low level of internet penetration, the
sample will reflect a more urban, educated, and higher
income profile than the general population] across 37
countries get right about their society – and which they
get wrong. Now in its fifth year globally [This is the 3rd
measure for New Zealand], the survey aims to highlight how
we’re wired to think in certain ways and how our
environment influences our (mis)perceptions.

How
accurate is the New Zealand public?


CRIME – New Zealand was among the most accurate
nations when it comes to deaths by crime, with 58% correctly
identifying that in New Zealand more people are killed by
physical violence other than firearms or knives.
We are one of 13 countries to correctly identify
the greatest killer of the three and in fact had the 8th
highest proportion of people correctly identifying the
biggest cause of deaths from crime.

PRISON
POPULATIONS
– People overestimate the scale of
overcrowding in prisons in New Zealand. The average
guess is that prisons are at 122% of capacity
when
the actual figure is 106%.

RENEWABLE ENERGY –
New Zealanders are too optimistic about the levels of energy
consumed that comes from renewable sources.
The
average guess here is 44% when it is actually just 31%.

TEMPERATURE CHANGE – Similarly, New
Zealanders underestimate the level of temperature change
over the past two decades. We think 10 of the past
18 years were the hottest on record globally
when
in reality it is 17.

VACCINATIONS
New Zealanders guess that around three quarters of
infants (72%) have been vaccinated
against
Diphtheria, Tetanus, Whooping Cough, Polio and Measles when
levels are much higher at 94%.


UNEMPLOYMENT – Levels of unemployment are
hugely overestimated in New Zealand. People think
that 18% of working age New Zealanders are unemployed and
looking for work
when the actual figure is less
than a third of that (5%).

THE
ECONOMY
– When it comes to gauging our economic
place in the world, New Zealanders are too pessimistic, the
average guess is that New Zealand has the 70th
largest economy
by GDP when in reality it is 51st.

AGEING POPULATION – New Zealanders
estimate that half their population (49%) will be
over 65 years old in 2050
which is double the
figure projected by the World Bank of 24% in New Zealand.

IMMIGRATION – People
overestimate the proportion of immigrants in New
Zealand
with an average guess of 32% when the
actual figure is 23%.

MUSLIMS – We
are very wrong about the percentage of Muslims in
New Zealand
. The average guess of 11% is greater
than the actual figure 1%.

Commenting on the study,
Ipsos New Zealand Public Affairs Director and Head
of Wellington office, Amanda Dudding, said
:
“Although New Zealand gets it wrong on almost every aspect
of our society, either under or overestimating the actual
figures, when compared to the 37 countries surveyed, we are
the second most accurate. We are more pessimistic when it
comes to the size of our economy, unemployment and levels of
immigration.

“Ipsos’ global Perils of Perceptions
study shows that, around the world, many people overestimate
the real extent of some social issues, while underestimating
the importance of others. Our latest research reveals that
in many countries certain signal crimes really grab the
public’s attention more than official statistics suggest
they should. Additionally, people are perhaps too complacent
when it comes to climate change and the use of renewable
energy sources.

“There are many different reasons why
we may be wrong about various facts of society. These can
include external influences on us, such as what we hear in
the media or online, but our own internal biases are just as
important. These biases include our tendencies to focus
more on negative stories over positive ones, to believe that
things were always better in the past, to put too much
emphasis on our own individual experience, and simply not
being very good with numbers. The emergence of ‘fake
news’ in the past couple of years makes the interpretation
of what is right or wrong even more challenging at both a
local and international level.

“But what is crucial to
understand is that we overestimate what we worry about as
much as we worry about what we overestimate – in other
words, misperceptions can be a very useful pointer to
people’s real concerns. It also means that trying to
correct misperceptions by only repeating the facts is
unlikely to work – instead we need to engage with the more
emotional reasons that might be driving why people are
worried about a topic,” Dudding
said.

Crime

In several countries around
the world, people are wrong about the scale of knife
and gun crime
in their country. Although in 13
countries the majority correctly guess which is the biggest
killer out of firearms, sharp objects such as knives or
other physical violence, in other countries people’s
perceptions don’t match what the crime statistics say.

New Zealand is one of those 13, with 58%
correctly nominating physical violence as the biggest killer
of the three. Thirteen per cent nominate guns as
responsible for the most deaths and 30% think knives are
responsible for the most deaths. Interestingly these
results are similar to Australia where the respective
figures are 59%, 10% and 30%.

New Zealand is
however, more accurate
, than several other
countries. For example, in Great Britain, 71% of
people think knives
cause the most deaths, when
they actually account for just 25% of all deaths by
interpersonal violence. In the US – where firearms account
for almost 70% of all deaths through interpersonal violence,
only six in ten (59%) correctly identify guns as the biggest
killer.

People in most countries think prisons
are even more crowded than they actually are
. On
average people think prisons are 30% over full capacity
(130%) when they are 9% over capacity (109%). People
overestimate the scale of overcrowding in prisons in New
Zealand. The average guess is that prisons are at
122% of capacity
when the actual figure is 106%.
Australia also overestimates prison populations thinking
that they are 120% over capacity, when the actual figure is
96%.

Climate change

Seventeen of the
past 18 years have been the hottest since records began.
However, every country in the study underestimates the
global temperature rise over the past 18
years. The average estimate across the study was 9 years,
which was also the figure for Australia. New Zealanders
think 10 of the past 18 years were the hottest on
record globally
when in reality it is 17.

The
majority of countries also overestimate the amount of
energy used that comes from renewable
sources
in their country. The average guess is 26%
when it’s actually only 18%. New Zealanders are
too optimistic about the levels of energy consumed that
comes from renewable sources.
The average guess
here is 44% when it is actually just 31%. Australia’s
average guess was 21%, when the actual figure is 9%.
Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, China and Singapore were the
furthest out.

Vaccinations

All
countries in the survey underestimate the near universal
level of infant vaccinations in their
country. The average guess is 73% when the actual figure is
94% according to World Health Organisation (WHO) figures.
New Zealanders guess that about three quarters of
infants (72%) have been vaccinated
, when the actual
figure is 94% while in Australia, it’s 76% versus
95%.

Economy

Every country in the
study heavily overestimates the proportion of people
unemployed and seeking work
in their country. The
average guess across the study was 5 times greater than the
actual (34% when in reality it is closer to 7%). New
Zealanders think that 18% of working age people are
unemployed and looking for work
when the actual
figure is less than a third of that (5%). Australia thinks
23% of its population is unemployed when the actual figure
is 5%.

People tend to underestimate the size of
their country’s economy relative to others
. The
majority of people placed their country’s GDP rank lower
than the reality. The average guess is that New
Zealand has the 70th largest economy
by GDP when in
reality it is 51st. Australians guess they have the 30th
largest economy, when it actually ranks
12th.

Population facts

Every country
massively overestimates the levels of growth of
their elderly population.
Across the countries on
average, people think 54% of the population will be 65+ in
2050 when in reality the projection is less than half that
(25%). New Zealanders estimate that
around half their population (49%)
will be over 65 years old in 2050
when the actual
figure is only 24%. Australia had similar figures at 51%
versus 22%.

The majority of countries hugely overestimate
levels of immigration; a pattern we have
seen in previous studies. The average guess across 37
countries is that 28% are immigrants when the actual figure
is less than half that (12%). New Zealand
had an average guess of 32% when the actual figure is 23%
and in Australia the figures were 41% and 29%
respectively.

Nearly every country in the study also
over-estimates their Muslim population by a
large margin. The average guess was nearly double the actual
figure (20% vs 8%). New Zealand
also hugely overestimates its Muslim
population saying it is 11% when the actual figure is 1% and
in Australia the figures are 17% versus the 3%
reality.

“Misperceptions
Index”

Looking across seven key questions where
we get people to estimate factual realities, there are clear
patterns in which countries have a more accurate view of
their countries. To capture this, we’ve calculated the
Ipsos “Misperceptions Index”, as shown in the table
below.

This year Thailand receives the
dubious prize of ‘least accurate’ in their perceptions,
closely followed by Mexico and
Turkey. Hong Kong is the
most accurate, followed by New Zealand,
with Sweden in third.

Misperceptions Index Rankings

Rank
Thailand 1 Least
accurate
Mexico 2
Turkey 3
Malaysia 4
Brazil 5
Colombia 6
Russia 7
Saudi
Arabia
8
China 9
Peru 10
Belgium 11
India 12
Romania 13
Germany 14
South
Africa
15
Japan 16
Serbia 17
Italy 18
Argentina 19
France 20
Netherlands 21
Switzerland 22
United
States
23
South
Korea
24
Chile 25
Montenegro 26
Canada 27
Spain 28
Australia 29
Poland 30
Singapore 31
Denmark 32
Great
Britain
33
Hungary 34
Sweden 35
New
Zealand
36
Hong
Kong
37 Most
accurate

ENDS

Charts:
Ipsos_NZ_Perils_of_Perception_2018_PDF_released_Dec_2018.pdf

Notes
to Editors:

These are the findings of the Ipsos
MORI Perils of Perception Survey 2018. 28,115 interviews
were conducted between 28th September – 16th October 2018.

The survey is conducted in 37 countries around the world,
via the Ipsos Online Panel system in Argentina, New Zealand,
Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Denmark,
France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong (SAR, China),
Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands,
Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore,
South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland,
Thailand, Turkey and the USA. The following countries used
either online or face-to-face methodologies: Montenegro,
Serbia.

Approximately 1000 individuals aged 16-64 or
18-64 were surveyed in Brazil, Canada, China, France,
Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Mexico,
Montenegro, Serbia, Singapore, Spain and the USA.
Approximately 2000 individuals aged 16-64 were surveyed in
Japan. Approximately 500 individuals aged 16-64 were
surveyed in Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Denmark,
Hungary, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Poland,
Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea,
Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand and Turkey.

21 of the 37
countries surveyed online generate nationally representative
samples in their countries (Argentina, New Zealand, Belgium,
Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong
(SAR, China), Hungary, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland,
Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and
United States).

Brazil, Columbia, China, Chile, India,
Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia,
Serbia, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey produce a national
sample that is more urban & educated, and with higher
incomes than their fellow citizens. We refer to these
respondents as “Upper Deck Consumer Citizens”. They are
not nationally representative of their country.

The
“actual” data for each question is taken from a variety
of verified sources. A full list of sources/links to the
actual data can be found at https://perils.ipsos.com/.

Where
results do not sum to 100 or the ‘difference’ appears to
be+-1 more/less than the actual, this may be due to
rounding, multiple responses or the exclusion of don’t knows
or not stated responses.

Data are weighted to match the
profile of the
population.

© Scoop Media

 



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