The end of the Mayan calendar, which spans about 5,125 years, on December 21, 2012 has ignited many suggestions that it marks the end of the world.
Ipsos Global Public Affairs conducted a poll for Reuters that contained 16,262 responses in more than 20 countries questioning whether they believe the world will end in their lifetime:
“Whether they think it will come to an end through the hands of God, or a natural disaster or a political event, whatever the reason, one in seven thinks the end of the world is coming,” said Keren Gottfried, research manager at Ipsos Global Public Affairs.
About one in 10 people globally said they were experiencing fear about the impending end of the world in 2012. The highest numbers were found in Russia and Poland, the fewest in Great Britain.
Gottfried said that people with lower education and incomes were more likely to believe in an apocalypse:
“Perhaps those who are older have lived long enough to not be as concerned with what happens to their future,” she explained.