Special Report

Most and Least Trusted Institutions in America

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11. Public schools
> Population with high-confidence in the institution: 41% of adults

Among the 16 institutions included in this survey, public schools received slightly above average levels of “a great deal” or “a lot “of trustworthiness. A recent survey by Education Week of more than 2,000 parents of K-12 public and private school students found that half of respondents put “somewhat high to high” trust in a school’s ability to safeguard students from the Covid-19 virus, while 30% had “low to nonexistent” trust.

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10. The U.S. Supreme Court
> Population with high-confidence in the institution: 40% of adults

Trust in the U.S. Supreme Court tends to be issues-based, and as the highest court in the land enters a new era with an expanded conservative majority, trust in the court may line up along ideological lines. Nevertheless, a 40% trustworthiness rating in this Gallup poll, along with a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll showing strong support for term limits, suggests the Supreme Court is viewed with a tepid level of trustworthiness by the general public.

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9. The presidency
> Population with high-confidence in the institution: 39% of adults

Along with police, the presidency has one of the widest spreads between whites and blacks. This Gallup survey found that non-Hispanic whites trust the president more than religious institutions while only 13% of non-Hispanic blacks place a high degree of trust in the White House. A USA Today/Suffolk University survey in April 2020 found that 30% of respondents found President Donald Trump trustworthy, but that figure rose to 78% among respondents who said Fox News was their top news source.

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8. Banks
> Population with high-confidence in the institution: 38% of adults

Trustworthiness of banks sits in the middle in the Gallup survey. The 16 institutions named in the poll found that only 38% of respondents assign a great deal of trust on average, which puts banks in the statistical middle of this survey. Non-Hispanic blacks trust banks even less, which should be no surprise considering a legacy of racist practices in the financial system, such as redlining. A separate Gallup survey from 2016 found less than 30% of Americans put a lot of trust in banks, up from a series low of 22% amid the 2009 financial collapse.

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7. Large technology companies
> Population with high-confidence in the institution: 32% of adults

Big Tech has caught heat in recent years for alleged anti-competitive strategies and surveillance-capitalism business models, and it now faces the prospect of an emboldened antitrust effort from both the Biden administration’s Federal Trade Commission and Republican politicians who believe social media companies censor conservative views. While the survey found more trust of big tech companies by non-Hispanic blacks, less than a third of both whites and blacks place a lot of trust in this industry.