The data shows that the level of trust people have on others as well as their government varies substantially between countries, and that it has changed during the pandemic. In the first six weeks of the survey, starting from the end of March, the most trusting people were found in Finland and Spain, where a large majority of respondents said that they generally trusted others (63% in Finland, 58% in Spain).
Some weeks later, this had not changed much in Finland (61%), whereas in Spain – which had one of the strictest and longest lockdown policies in Europe – only 28% of people now said that they trusted others. In the USA and Germany, the level of trust remained fairly stable throughout the data collection period – more than half of people said they trusted others.
Interestingly, in the UK and Portugal the level of trust has increased over time – in the UK going up from 54% to 63%, and in Portugal from 52% to 66%. In India and Argentina, the level of trust was low to begin with, as less than a third (30%) people in India said they trusted others, and only one in five (21%) in Argentina.
Trust in government on a decline everywhere
It seems that the pandemic has had an effect on people’s trusting their national governments, regardless of the number of coronavirus casualties in the country. Trust in government was very high in Finland (93%) in the first six weeks of the survey from late March to beginning of May but dropped to 79% after that.
Considerable decreases were also observed in Portugal (down from 83% to 74%) and India (63% to 53%), but the largest decreases in trust took place in the USA and the UK. In the US, only just over a quarter (28%) people said they trusted their government in the first data collection period, and this went down further to just 10% in the last six weeks. In the UK, the number of people saying their trusted their government went down from half (49%) to less than a third (30%).