List of Social Issues and Topics for Students

Last Updated: 22 October 2021

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


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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