People around the world feel less safe than they did five years ago. At the same time, they continue to feel more happy than stressed. Our latest study, The Next Normal: Rise of Resilience, took the pulse of people’s attitudes and outlooks on life in 30 countries and compared the results to 2012. It found that across all countries and generations, people’s personal networks are broadening – and as a result, a stronger sense of unity is emerging. That may explain why people are both more anxious and more contented all at once.

In both the digital and real worlds, people report having more friends. The average social network has increased fourfold in size. People are also averaging almost 3 times more online contacts that they’ve never met personally. And while the number of best friends people have has remained stable, they report a more than 50% rise in “other” IRL friends.

The internet is exerting a growing influence, with 74% in 2017 agreeing that it’s changed how they think. More are saying they’re curious about the world and active in their communities. Almost 9 out of 10 believe that everyone should be treated with respect without regard for race, religion or sexuality.

There is also a rising belief in people’s capacity to incite positive change. People of all ages – from the 6-year-olds to the 54-year-olds – believe that their age group has the potential to change the world for the better.