What Are Contemporary Issues?

By Staff WriterLast Updated May 27, 2020 7:58:05 PM ET
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Any modern-day trend, event, idea, or topic around a current subject that is relevant to people can be defined as a contemporary issue. From climate change to technology, social issues to health, contemporary issues abound in almost every area of our current lives. 

Contemporary issues help shape the fabric of our society. Some contemporary issues are useful and unifying for society like electronic banking while others can be divisive such as politics, climate issues, and more. The more advanced a person is in the culture of our times is usually more aware of contemporary issues than one who is remote and disconnected from society. Here's a look at some of the key contemporary issues today.

Climate Change

Global warming, the growing strength of storms, and overdeveloping our natural lands are key areas that are contemporary issues for today's young generation, according to the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Survey. Regarding climate change, advocates see the need to battle against the tide of climate change and its overall impact on society. However, figuring out the right path and precise steps to battle climate change is a heated, debatable contemporary issue. 

Technology Change

Around 20 years ago, advancements in technology were going to make us a faster, more productive society. In many ways, it has. From our daily use of computers to our dependence on the "always-on" internet to our multitiered relationships with social media, it's clear that technology has advanced our society. However, these advancements are not always seen for good, and this is a contemporary issue that is just starting to grow.

Technology enthusiasts are always aiming for the next great app, faster mobile network, and greater commercial opportunity. However, other people in society think that there is too much technology already, and it's ruining human lives. Many point to the prevalent use of mobile devices around the world. They are in human hands for many hours of the day and can distract us from otherwise important day-to-day issues and tasks. One contemporary issue is the growing call to ban cellphones in classrooms. Teachers fear that these devices are a major distraction to learning in the classroom.   

Social Change

Matters of race, class, income, and political persuasion have long been issues and continue to be so today. For example, in the U.S., the income divide between the so-called "one percent," which are those U.S. households with an annual income of more than $475,000, and the rest of society is a clear example of a contemporary issue that engages people. 

Politics also has a share of people's mindset as a contemporary issue in the coming 2020 U.S. presidential election year. Anger and divisiveness are emotions that have emerged from the political world, making it into a major contemporary issue that will only gain traction throughout the year.  

Health Change

The awareness of health and wellness topics in people's daily lives is also a strong contemporary issue. From the exercise people do ― or don't do ― to the food they put into their body to the supplements they take, health and wellness has exploded into a multibillion-dollar industry. On the medical side, The National Institute of Health and the National Cancer Institute both consider obesity and cancer and the link between them as contemporary health issues.