Will the world end in 2012? Nine per cent of Canadians believe so

About 20 per cent of people in China believe the Mayan calendar signifies doomsday

UPDATE: We have been conducting our own poll on the Front Page asking people if they believe the world will end in 2012. In the first eight hours of the poll, more than 12,000 people participated with nine per cent answering "yes." The exact same percentage as the Ipsos Reid survey.

ORIGINAL: If you think the Mayan calendar signifies the end of the world this year, you are not alone.

A new survey conducted by Ipsos Reid for Reuters found nine per cent of Canadians believe the end is near.

"Canadians are less superstitious compared to others, but they're not far behind," said Keren Gottfried, research manager at Ipsos, to Postmedia News. Younger people and those in lower income brackets are more likely to believe.

"Perhaps those who are older have lived long enough to not be as concerned with what happens to their future," she said to Reuters.

Topping the list was China, with 20 per cent of its population thinking our last day alive will be Dec. 21 of this year. Second, with 13 per cent, was Turkey, Russia, Mexico, South Korea and Japan. In the U.S., 12 per cent of people believe the apocalypse is coming.

Overall around the world, 10 per cent of people think the world will end this year and 14 per cent think it 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 Gottfried to Reuters. "Perhaps it is because of all the media attention coming from one interpretation of the Mayan prophecy that states the world 'ends' in our calendar year 2012."

She added some Mayan scholars have different interpretations for the calendar ending in December.

The survey also asked if people thought the world would end in their lifetime and 14 per cent of people worldwide agreed with that statement. Four per cent strongly agree.

The study found eight per cent of those surveyed "have been experiencing anxiety or fear because the world is going to end in 2012."

One of the people who is hoping to be ready for the apocalypse is Bruce Beach. He has built the world's largest privately-constructed nuclear fallout shelter in Horning's Mills, Ontario, about an hour and a half from Toronto. It's called Ark Two. The shelter is constructed from the shells of 42 school buses, which were buried underground in the 1980s as moulds for the poured concrete bunker.

"This is really an underground nursery," Beach said to Global's 16x9. "Everyone is welcome here regardless of religion, race, nationality or political views."

For the survey, Ipsos questioned 16,262 people in 21 countries with Canada coming in 15th, while Germany and Indonesia were tied at the bottom of the list with four per cent of respondents believing.

(Reuters photo of Harold Camping, who has incorrectly predicted numerous doomsdays)