ourworldindata – Levels of Trust by Country: ‘Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you need to be very careful in dealing with people?’ Possible Answers ‘Most people can be trusted’ or ‘Can’t be too careful’ – Max Roser1
Correlates, Determinants & Consequences
Percentage of people who trust people in general vs GNP per capita – Beinhocker (2006)2
Percentage of people expressing high level of trust in others (2008) vs. income inequality by Gini index (mid-2000s) – Max Roser3
|Australia||Gini||Level of Trust|
Share reporting trust in people and index of civic engagement vs index of peaceful collective decision making – World Development Report (2013)4
Perceived social network support: percentage of people who have relatives or friends they can count on, 2012 – OECD (2013)5
Data Quality & Definition
The World Database of Trust (by Harvey S. James) lists definitions of trust and research publications.
Interpersonal trust levels as measured by the World Values Survey and European Values Study, and the European Social Survey and Afrobarometer Survey – Inglehart & Welzel (2010)6
- Data: OECD data on trust is published in the Society at a Glance – OECD Social Indicators
- Geographical coverage: OECD member states
- Time span: Recent years
- Available at: The latest of which is from 2011 and is online here.
The World Value Survey (WVS)
- Data: Data on trust and many other social and cultural characteristics from cross-national and time-series surveys
- Geographical coverage: The WVS covers almost 100 societies (nearly 90% of the world’s population).
- Time span: Several waves of surveys from 1981 to 2014
- Available at: The data on trust is available online at the Integrated European Value Survey / World Value Survey data section here. The website of the WVS is here.
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An additional interesting article on global view on Trust :
Where Trust is High, Crime and Corruption are Low: http://www.pewglobal.org/2008/04/15/where-trust-is-high-crime-and-corruption-are-low/#trust-down-in-eastern-europe-up-in-west
“Since Communism’s Fall, Social Trust Has Fallen in Eastern Europe
by Richard Wike, Associate Director and Kathleen Holzwart, Research Analyst, Pew Global Attitudes Project
“Trust,” political scientist Eric Uslaner has written, “is the chicken soup of social life.”1 Over the last two decades, social scientists have repeatedly suggested that good things tend to happen in societies where people tend to trust each other — they have stronger democracies, richer economies, better health, and they suffer less often from any number of social ills.
As the 2007 Pew Global Attitudes survey highlighted, the degree of trust in societies varies considerably around the world.2 Moreover, while the survey finds that social trust is not strongly correlated with our measures of democracy or economic performance, it is strongly correlated with views about two other important issues: crime and corruption. In countries where people generally trust one another, there are fewer worries about crime or corrupt political leaders.
The survey also found that in Eastern Europe — a region where concerns about corruption are widespread — the tumultuous changes that followed the fall of communism have taken their toll on social trust. The percentage of Russians, Ukrainians and Bulgarians who believe most people are trustworthy has declined steeply since the early 1990s.”