Generalised trust (i74)

  •  30/11/2021
  • objective  
  •  assessment 

In 2018, 43.9% of the population aged 15 and over in Belgium, estimated that, in general, most people can be trusted. To achieve the sustainable development goal by 2030, generalised trust must not decrease. Between 2002 and 2018, the trend is favourable (assessment of November 2021).

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Generalised trust - Belgium and international comparison

at least 6, on 0-10 scale

percentage of population aged 15 years and over

 2002201020122014201620182018//20022018//2012
Belgium37.741.045.539.546.843.91.0-0.6
Germany33.134.640.539.446.047.82.32.8
France26.125.428.730.029.129.80.80.6
Netherlands58.366.966.163.067.265.60.7-0.1
//: Average Growth Rates

ESS (2020), Dataset European Social Survey, http://www.europeansocialsurvey.org/ (consulted on 29/09/2020); calculations FPB.

Generalised trust by sex - Belgium

at least 6, on 0-10 scale

percentage of population aged 15 years and over

 2002201020122014201620182018//20022018//2012
females37.037.842.137.045.542.50.90.2
males38.944.349.142.248.245.41.0-1.3
//: Average Growth Rates

ESS (2020), Dataset European Social Survey, http://www.europeansocialsurvey.org/ (consulted on 29/09/2020); calculations FPB.

Generalised trust by income - Belgium

at least 6, on 0-10 scale

percentage of population aged 15 years and over

 201020122014201620182018//2012
quintile 138.638.127.037.942.21.7
quintile 234.037.131.343.738.10.5
quintile 338.843.335.741.841.2-0.8
quintile 444.553.346.853.447.0-2.1
quintile 555.858.455.558.257.5-0.3
//: Average Growth Rates

ESS (2020), Dataset European Social Survey, http://www.europeansocialsurvey.org/ (consulted on 29/09/2020); calculations FPB.

Definition: generalised trust is measured by the proportion of participants to the European Social Survey (ESS) who gave a score of at least 6 out of 10 to the question "Would you say that most people can generally be trusted, or that you can never be too careful in your contacts with people?" Respondents can give an answer on a scale from 0 ("you can never be too careful") to 10 ("most people are trustworthy"). This question was systematically asked in the nine biennial ESS surveys. The indicator is calculated by the FPB on the basis of data from the ESS. Since these data are based on surveys, a margin of uncertainty must be taken into account. The confidence intervals for these data are available on request.

Goal: generalised trust must not decrease.

The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs adopted by the UN in 2015 include goal 16: “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

International comparison: in Belgium generalised trust (43.9%) is clearly lower than in the Netherlands (65.6%), higher than in France (27.8%) and around the same level as in Germany (49.8%). The level of the indicator in the different countries also remains relatively stable over the whole period. Given the subjective nature of this indicator, comparisons between countries should be interpreted with caution.

UN indicator: the selected indicator does not correspond to any monitoring indicator for the SDGs, but is related to goal 16. Trust is a fundamental element of social capital, important for peaceful societies (Ortiz-Ospina and Roser, 2018).

Sources

  • General

    • SDGs, Sustainable Development Goals: United Nations (2015), Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015, document A/RES/70/1.

    • Indicators: United Nations (2017), Work of the Statistical Commission pertaining to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 6 July 2017, document A/RES/71/313.

    • UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/ (consulted on 24/09/2020).

    • Sustainable Development Goal indicators website: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/ (consulted on 24/09/2020).
  • Specific

More information is available in French and Dutch.