Fewer people are willing to fight for their country compared to ten years ago

  • 2024

Shows a poll conducted by Gallup International Association (GIA) in 45 countries covering around half of the global population.

One in two adults around the world declare that they would fight for their country if there was a war, a third would not, and 14% are not sure.

It seems that willingness to fight has decreased after the outbreak of several conflicts in recent years. In 2014, for instance, when we witnessed the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, the attitudes to the same question around the world were 61% willing to fight and 27% on the opposite opinion.

Worldwide now there is a clear division between the global South/East and the global North/West in attitudes towards the readiness to fight for their country. While citizens of EU (32% willing to fight), USA (41%) and Canada (34%) are much less willing to fight for their country if there was a war, people in West Asia (77%), the Middle East, where tension is now also high, (73%) and India (76%) are much more ready to fight for their country if needed.

The exception in Europe where people express more willingness to personally defend their country if there was a war is in those countries that are not part of the EU – around 60% there say they are willing to fight.

In terms of individual countries, those most willing (answers “yes”) to fight include Armenia (96%), Saudi Arabia (94%), Azerbaijan (88%), Pakistan (86%) and Georgia (83%). Those least willing (answers “no”) are Italy (78%), Austria (62%), Germany (57%), Nigeria (54%) and Spain (53%).

In Russia 32% (down from 59% ten years ago) say they are ready to go to war for their country if needed, 20% are not and the significant share of 48% replied “don’t know”. But note this question was asked in a country where opposition to the war is a crime. In Ukraine people are more willing to personally defend their country – 62% (no change from ten years ago), but 33% say they would not. And in this country peace negotiations are now forbidden by law.

Kancho Stoychev, president of GIA:
“Technological advantage is always crucial in a war but historically the motivation to fight should not be ignored. The elites in the West might be inclined to solve problems by fighting/supporting a war, but western citizens are twice less inclined to bear arms, compared to the citizens of the rest of the World. The narrative in the G-7 plus EU countries that the war in Ukraine is also their own war seems to bear no correlation with the citizens of these countries willingness to fight.”

For more information

Kancho Stoychev (in Sofia), +359 88 8611025
Johnny Heald (in London), +44 7973 600308
Dr Munqith Dagher (in Baghdad) +962 7 9967 2229
Steven Kang (in Seoul) +82-2-3702-2550
Antonio Asencio Guillen (in Madrid) +34 608191334
Torbjörn Sjöström (in Stockholm) +46 8 128 196 71

Methodology

The Gallup International End of Year Survey (EoY) is an annual tradition initiated by and designed under the chairmanship of Dr. George Gallup in 1977. The survey is conducted every year since then. This year it was carried out in 41 countries around the world.

Sample Size and Mode of Fieldwork

A total of 44 931 persons were interviewed globally. In each country a representative sample of around 1000 men and women was interviewed during October-December 2023 either face to face, via telephone or online.
The margin of error for the survey is between +3 – 5% at 95% confidence level.

About Gallup International

Gallup International Association (GIA) is the leading global independent association in market research and polling.

For more than 75 years Gallup International members have demonstrated their expert ability to conduct multi-country surveys on a comparable basis and deliver the highest quality. Our more than 100 members and partners are leading national institutes with a profound local knowledge of research methods and techniques, statistical sources, customs, and culture differences of its own country and carefully selected by the Association Board. With only one member agency per country, members work together daily to share knowledge, new research techniques and tools, as well as to provide the most appropriate solutions to international research projects and service our clients to the best of our abilities.