List of Social Issues and Topics for Students

Last Updated: 27 March 2023

social issues list

Think of the world as a place with social ties, which faces constant social, political, ethical, economic, environmental problems. This blog article will cover some common examples of social issues that can inspire you to choose the best topic for your research paper, essay, or term paper.

Whether you are in high school, college, or university, chances are that you will write a social issues paper. If you are a social work student, you are highly likely to be assigned a social issue essay.

The trick is to begin from a social issue or problem, explore widely what the media, news, and people are saying about a given issue, then apply concepts from class to narrow down to a topic.

These social issues are also subjects of policy briefs. Think of global problems, then start narrowing them down to continental, regional, national, and finally within the state or community. Most importantly, these issues should be represented in national, local, and international news. Your instructor most likely gave samples too, so peruse through your notes for ideas.

If you need some inspiration, let's define social issues, then explore a list of different issues before delving into topic ideas.

What is a Social Issue?

A social issue refers to a problem that affects a large population of people in society. It is a combination of different problems in present-day society, primarily in which people strive to find solutions.

They can also be defined as social conditions that disrupt normalcy in society.

Social problems result from many contributing factors that are beyond the control of an individual or individuals. If left unresolved, social issues birth conflicts based on a different point of view regarding what is morally right and what is incorrect decision either at the personal or group level.

Specific social issues are rampant in given countries, while others can be generic. For instance, the United States is known for police brutality, racism, hate crimes, obesity, overcrowded prisons, junk foods, hunger, homelessness, opioid pandemic, and wealth inequality.

For an issue to be considered a social issue or problem:

List of Recent/Current/ Hot Social Issues

When assigned to write an essay, research paper, or term paper on social issues, you should think of writing a problem-solution essay. Here is a list of the most common or important social issues to kickstart you with your writing.

Here is a list of social issues that have captured the attention of everyone in the world.

  1. Vaccines
    • Covid-19 vaccine
    • Mandatory vaccination for Covid-19
    • Vaccine development and distribution
  2. Global Wars
    • Israeli-Pakistani conflict
    • War in Syria
    • Al-Qaeda takeover of Afghanistan
  3. Global unemployment rates
    • Increased unemployment in the United States
    • Increased unemployment in developing nations
    • Increased demand of nurses and healthcare personnel in developed nations
  4. Travel restrictions and ban
    • Australian travel ban for people outside its territory
    • UK and US ban for people from places with high covid-19 infections
    • Travel restrictions for people from countries with low vaccination rates
  5. Political polarization
    • Russia is accused of meddling in other countries' election processes
    • Unrests and strikes after elections
  6. Global pandemic
    • More deaths announced because of COVID-19
    • Political hand in vaccination and covid-19 information
    • Politics in manufacture and distribution of vaccines
    • Change in the global economy because of the pandemic
    • Social norm shifts because of the global pandemic
  7. Black Lives Matter Social Movement
    • The Black Lives Matter social movement has captured the attention of the world. The protests follow a series of police brutality cases in America.
    • Social media made the BLM movement vibrant
  8. Racism and religious discrimination
    • The Centers for Disease Control Center (CDC) shows that over 97 million people cannot access quality healthcare services globally.
    • Both governments and non-governmental organizations are at the forefront to combat this.
    • It can be attributed to shortages of healthcare personnel, poor healthcare policies, and poor healthcare systems.
    • Overpopulation is also a contributing factor as the demand for healthcare services increases
    • Poverty leads to a lack of access to universal healthcare packages
  9. Racism and Discrimination
    • The world has recorded many cases of racism. From advertisements to killings of people from a given race, there has been an increase in racism and discrimination.
    • We have witnessed xenophobia and Islamophobia
    • Religious discrimination has also taken the lead recently, with Muslims being blamed for terrorism
  10. LGBTQ Rights
    • Countries are slowly taking a stance on the issue of LGBTQ
    • The chief issue has been the adoption rights of same-sex parents
    • Some countries have criminalized same-sex relationships
  11. Climate Change
    • Climate change is an ongoing issue that raises emotions and controversy.
    • It is a significant social issue that affects the entire world population.
    • Issues such as hurricanes, tsunamis, severe storms, warmer winters, increased sea levels, wildfires, and drought are attributed to pollution.
  12. Overpopulation, Hunger, and Poverty
    • The global population is experiencing an outburst
    • Experts warn that there will be a strain on resources in coming years
    • Over 1 billion people are living in extreme poverty
    • The world is projected to have over 9 billion people by 2030
    • Overpopulation increases the scarcity of resources such as farmable lands
    • Overpopulation leads to starvation, poverty, and homelessness
  13. Immigration issues
    • Movement from country to country has increased
    • Increased numbers of asylum seekers from countries such as Afghanistan and Haiti
    • The United States has many immigrants, making immigration a social issue
    • The UK is considering increasing strictness to immigration
    • There is a refugee crisis as people are barred from entering some countries
  14. Elections and Voting Rights
    • The National Association of Social workers prioritizes the right to vote as a social justice issue
    • There is debate on the age limit to vote
    • People are not coming out to exercise their right to vote
    • There are issues with US' electoral college system
  15. Childhood obesity
    • Obesity is a prevalent issue in society. It is a social problem deriving from a lifestyle change.
    • Childhood obesity and adult obesity is on the rise
    • At least 2-3 people are considered overweight, while one in every six kids aged between 6 and 19 years are obese
    • Obesity is linked to CVD, diabetes, cancers, depression, and other disorders.
  16. Terrorism
    • Terrorist organizations are mushrooming every day
    • Suicide bombing
    • Counterterrorism strategies
    • Terrorists disrupting normalcy, such as Boko Haram that capture school going children
    • Radicalization of youths to join terrorist groups
    • Recruitment of terrorists through social media
    • Kidnappings
    • Weapons of mass destruction
    • Biological terrorism
    • Bombing of aircrafts
    • Political assassinations
    • International and domestic/home-grown terrorism
  17. Human Trafficking
    • Increased organ trafficking
    • Women being trafficked more than ever
    • Sex trafficking of young girls
  18. Drug trafficking
    • Many people are being recruited to be drug mules
    • Drugs are affecting many people
  19. Online Education
    • The proliferation of online education technology
    • Digital illiteracy
    • Digital divide
    • Use of Skype, Zoom, and Google Classroom
    • Inequality in accessing online education

Topics inspired by Social Issues/Problems

When writing an essay or research paper, you can pick topics related to the social issues we have highlighted above. Here are some topics

  1. Sexual abuse
    • Factors leading to sexual abuse
    • Sexual abuse of minors on the rise
    • Sexual abuse of the elderly
    • Sexual abuse of nurses and frontline healthcare workers
    • Sexual abuse of the homeless
    • Sexual abuse by the clergy
    • Sexual abuse in prisons
    • Role of media in curbing sexual abuse
  2. Early pregnancy
    • Causes and consequences of early pregnancies
    • Causes and solutions to teenage pregnancy
    • The link between teenage pregnancy and drug abuse
    • How desperation leads to early pregnancy
    • Sex education and teenage pregnancy
    • Impacts of teenage pregnancies
    • Teenage pregnancy and abortion.
  3. Female genital mutilation

Over 200 million women have undergone FGM. In addition, there is a risk of 3 million girls undergoing the same even if they are below 15 years. FGM is rampant in over 30 countries.

  1. Crime
    • Increased trans-country crimes
    • Advancement in global financial crimes
    • Money laundering and organized crimes
    • More deaths in the hands of criminals
    • Increased identity theft cases
    • Increase stalking because of social media

General Social Issue Topics for Essays

As long as an issue affects many people, it can be the major subject of your essay. For example, the social justice issues that affect the majority; are significant and have many topic ideas.

  1. Causes, consequences, and solutions to PTSD among veterans
  2. Mental health issues among military families
  3. Overcrowding in prisons
  4. Consequences of breach of privacy.'
  5. Hacking
  6. Bullying in schools
  7. Toxic workplaces
  8. Unfavorable work policies
  9. Increased prostitution due to unemployment and poverty
  10. Increased school dropout rates
  11. Shortage of school drivers
  12. Increased childhood obesity
  13. Racial profiling in America
  14. Football hooliganism
  15. Shortage of access to clean water
  16. Shortage of healthcare personnel
  17. Shortage of teachers
  18. Stigmatization of people living with AIDS
  19. Increased air pollution
  20. Increased droughts
  21. Human-animal conflicts
  22. Microplastics in water bodies
  23. The increased cost of living
  24. Sexism in the media
  25. Police brutality in America
  26. Increased gender-based violence
  27. Impacts of domestic violence
  28. Swelling student loan debt
  29. Flint water crisis
  30. Homelessness in America
  31. Social media bullying
  32. Gangs in big cities
  33. Poor waste management in cities
  34. Growing fast-food and shrinking organic foods
  35. Inequality in organic food distribution in America
  36. Corruption in governments
  37. Corruption at FIFA
  38. Increasing date rapes
  39. Aggression in children
  40. Sexual abuse and racial discrimination in sports
  41. Destruction of natural and cultural heritage
  42. Overrepresentation of indigenous people in prisons
  43. Poor access to healthcare by indigenous populations
  44. Hate speech and fake news on social media
  45. Segregation in the USA
  46. Stigmatization of people with disability
  47. Misogyny in the Middle East countries
  48. Assault of domestic workers in the Middle East countries
  49. Money laundering in developing nations
  50. Stigmatization of people with mental health and their families
  51. Ethnic cleansing in today's society
  52. Pornography and child sex trafficking
  53. Labeling as a form of discrimination in society
  54. Social class wars in the current society
  55. Sex tourism, its causes, impacts, and consequences
  56. Drug addiction among teenagers
  57. Discrimination of access to vaccination
  58. Surveillance of people in society as a breach of privacy
  59. Ageism targeting specific races
  60. Body shaming on social media
  61. Increased natural disasters due to pollution
  62. Accidents and drunk driving
  63. Malnutrition among children
  64. Consequences of cultural isolation
  65. Green energy and green hoax
  66. Greenwashing by multinational corporations
  67. Labor exploitation through sweatshops
  68. Immigration challenges
  69. Displacement of people for infrastructural development
  70. Mobility in cities
  71. Political and religious extremism
  72. Abortion issues
  73. Increased religious intolerance
  74. Consequences of problem neighborhoods
  75. Breastfeeding in public
  76. Separation of parents and children at the border
  77. Racial profiling in the criminal justice system
  78. Politically motivated poor infrastructure
  79. Food insecurity in America
  80. Legalization of medical marijuana
  81. Increased marketing of junk food to children
  82. Private prisons in America
  83. Food shortage in Africa
  84. Consequences of deprived neighborhoods
  85. Food aid in war-torn countries
  86. Consequences of drunk driving
  87. Consequences of driving when texting
  88. Persecution of religious captives
  89. Homicides due to gun violence
  90. Inequality in the American workplaces
  91. Tax evasion by large companies
  92. High cost of healthcare access
  93. Causes and consequences of femicide
  94. Low access to colleges for poor children
  95. Racial profiling in college admissions

You cannot miss an idea from the societal issues list to write your essay, research paper, or term paper about.


Parting Shot!

Having listed the most popular social issues that the entire world faces, you can now see how we ended up with topics from these issues. When assigned an essay, you can start from a single social issue, research widely, and develop a topic, thesis, and a befitting essay title.

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