Crime is the most important issue - but it depends on who you ask

By Karthik Muthuswamy

More than 40% of the Swedish voters said crime is the most important issue, according to the latest survey by SOM Institute at Gothenburg University.

However, younger people -and all left-leaning respondents- said environment is the most important issue. People in the age group 30-49 chose integration.

A survey question in the study asked the participants to provide –a maximum of– three issues/societal problems that they think are the most important in Sweden today. An analysis of the answers from respondents reveals the following trends.

The top five issues in Sweden are crime, healthcare, Integration, environment and education.

While men place more importance on crime and integration, women chose education and healthcare. Both the gender place equal importance on environment.

For young people (in the age group 16-29), environment is the most important issue. Education however, was not on their top five.

and the environment is the only 5th most important issue for people in the age group 30-49. They care about integration the most.

Half of all the older respondents (in the age group 65-85) believe that crime is the most important issue.

and the people in the age-group 50-64 are most similar to the general population.

People with right-leaning political ideology place the highest importance on crime, followed by integration - in stark contrast to the people that are left-leaning. The opposite goes for environment.

Henrik Ekengren Oscarsson and Johan Martinsson wrote in a report that "this is the first time crime has come top since the surveys began". While crime was only the fifth most important issue in 2015, it has been steadily increasing since then.

Leif GW Persson, a criminologist, said, "only 2.8% of the population are affected by crime and 1% of those are serious criminals themselves. (...) When people sum up their lives they will notice that crime has basically had zero impact on their lives". He has expressed his surprise at people placing crime as the most important issue.


Here you can explore the issues and compare the different groups. Click on group name to select/deselect.

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Method and data

The survey results are from 25,000 randomly-chosen individuals between 16-85 years old. Note that the environment issue includes issues around energy. Data can be found here.

Do you want to give feedback or just want to discuss something? Did you find something interesting while exploring the graphs? It is potentially a new story! Your thoughts/suggestions are highly valuable to me - don’t hesitate to contact me.

Visualisation made with Flourish and Scrollama.

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