Special Report

This Is the Least Trusted Country in the World

Russia is the least trusted country in the world by its own citizens. This is the conclusion of a major new piece of research about how much people trust their governments, media, and business, among other things.

The research raises a much broader issue than trust of government by a country’s citizens. What, or who, do people trust? Their families, friends, or employers? The media that give them information? Institutions, both profit and nonprofit?

In its recently released Trust Barometer 2022, public relations firm Edelman looked at levels of trust in 28 countries based on a survey of over 36,000 people. Trust in government and media declined compared to the 2021 study. In part, this was because these institutions were viewed as “divisive,” the report notes. Concern about “fake news” rose in almost every country.

To find the least trusted country in the world, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Edelman’s Trust Barometer study. Countries are ranked by the overall Trust Index, which is the average percent trust in non-governmental organizations, business, government, and media in the general population.

The research comes at an important time for the United States. Trust has become a major issue in America, or perhaps it always has been. Though the term “fake news” has been used before, it has been popularized in recent election cycles. Many people are suspicious of what they see on social media, and perhaps even more suspicious of what politicians say – a hallmark of the recent rise in partisanship.

When people worldwide were asked if they trust their governments and other institutions, there was a considerable difference between democracies and other regimes. In most democracies, trust fell from the last study. Totalitarian regimes did surprisingly well. 

The United States ranks well down the list of nations, at 43%. Compared to the previous year, the U.S. Trust Index fell by 5 points, and compared to 2017, it fell by 10 points. Germany posted the largest decline at 7 points, from 53% to 46%. Trust in Australia declined by 6 points to 53%.

The Edelman list of trust in government and other institutions in each country was topped by China, which at 83% was up 11 points. It was followed by the United Arab Emirates at 76%, up 9 points. Among the reasons China did so well were high trust levels in business (84%), NGOs (77%), government (91%), and media (81%). China bested the U.S. in each of these categories by wide margins.

The results of the survey imply that trust in government and media in China is the foundation of its high score. This holds true for the poor figures for the United States. (Though the report did not include Scandinavian countries, another study found that this is the world’s safest country.) 

Russia sits at the bottom of the list. Its overall Trust Index is 32%. That is much worse than the next lowest countries on the list, which are Japan (40%) and South Korea (42%).

Russia’s Trust Index is so low for several reasons. The research shows that trust in business in Russia is extremely low, as is the trust in media and in national health authorities. (The Russian Federation is also among countries with the richest rich people.)

Click here to see the least trusted country in the world

Sponsored: Tips for Investing

A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit.