Executive Summary: “Volatility brews beneath a stagnant surface. If a single theme captures the state of the world’s trust in 2018, it is this. Even as people’s trust in business, government, NGOs and media across 28 countries remained largely unchanged, experiencing virtually no recovery from 2017 (Fig. 1), dramatic shifts are taking place at the country level and within the institution of media.
Globally, 20 of 28 countries lie in distruster territory (Fig. 2), one more than in 2017. Trust among the informed public—those with higher levels of income and education— declined slightly on a global level, from 60 percent to 59 percent, thrusting this group into neutral territory from its once trusting status. A closer look, however, reveals a world moving apart (Fig. 3).
In 2018, two poles have emerged: a cluster of six nations where trust has dramatically increased, and six where trust has deeply declined. Whereas in previous years country-level trust has moved largely in lockstep, for the first time ever there is now a distinct split between extreme trust gainers and losers. No country saw steeper declines than the United States, with a 37-point aggregate drop in trust across all institutions.
The loss of trust was most severe among the informed public—a 23-point fall on the Trust Index—nearly erasing the “mass-class” divide that once stood between this segment of the U.S. population and the country’s farless-trusting mass population. At the opposite end of the spectrum, China experienced a 27-point gain, more than any other country. Following behind in the trust gainer category are the UAE (24 points) and South Korea (23 points)….(More)”.