This Is America's Most Trusted Institution

According to Merriam-Webster, trust is “one in which confidence is placed.” Does that include people? Impressions. “I can’t trust my own eyes.” Perhaps companies, industries or government? Research gold standard Gallup set out to get the answer.

Gallup has its own measure of what people think about institutions. It measures them vaguely based on whether people trust them “a great deal” or “quite a lot.” It sought its answers from 1,226 survey respondents, which it says is a satisfactory sample size. Its trust poll looked at 16 institutions. Only two institutions on the list garnered “a great deal” or “a lot” of trustworthiness above 70%, while three of them received confidence levels below 20%. Nine of these 16 institutions were ranked at or below the overall average of 38%.

The survey also looked at public perceptions between non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic Black respondents. The widest spreads between the two race categories were found in the trust they put in police and the presidency. Whites ranked those two institutions above trust in churches and public schools, while Black Americans put trust in the presidency and the police near the bottom, along with the criminal justice system.

To identify the most and least trusted American institutions, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the results of a Gallup poll of 1,226 U.S. adults 18 and older, living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, conducted between June 8 and July 24, 2020. Institutions are ranked on the share of adults who have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the institution in question. Institutions are ranked from most to least trusted.

Among the 16 measured, small business was America’s most trusted institution. The population with high confidence in the institution was 75% of adults

A recent survey from public relations firm Edelman concluded that business is, globally, the most trusted institution in society. However, this Gallup poll suggests small businesses are carrying most of the weight of this trustworthiness, while big businesses are among the least trusted institutions in the United States. Only small businesses and the military have a high confidence level above 70% in this survey.

Click here to see all of America’s most and least trusted institutions.

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