Would you say that most people can be trusted? Or do you think you need to be very careful in dealing with others?

This is what a recent OECD survey asked people living in the 34 member countries, as well as others in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa, Argentina and Saudi Arabia.

Why is it important to find out?

How much people trust each other is an indicator of how cohesive society is as a whole. But it’s not just how much we trust each other, it’s also how much we trust our governments. Ultimately, the better we work together, the more our economies and health will prosper.

The survey is part of the OECD’s Society at a Glance 2016, which studies 25 indicators in total.

You’re more trusting if you’re Nordic

The survey found that if you live in the Nordic region you are much more likely to trust those around you than if you live in Mediterranean countries.

Mapping trust
Image: World Value Survey

Countries where trust was highest were Denmark (75%), Norway (73%), Netherlands (67%), Sweden (62%) and Finland (62%).

They were followed by New Zealand (57%), Switzerland (53%), Australia (52%) and Iceland (49%).

Countries where trust levels were lowest were Mexico, Turkey and the Slovak Republic where only 12% of the population trusted others. In Portugal 19% trusted others, and in Chile 13% did. Only 7% of Brazil’s population and 4% of Colombia’s population were trusting.

Confidence in national government

 Confidence in government
Image: Gallup World Poll

More than three-quarters of the Swiss (77%) trust their national government. Around two thirds of Luxembourgians (68%) and Norwegians (65%) also trust those in government. New Zealanders and Germans are almost as trusting of government, with 63% and 62% respectively.

Countries where less than a quarter of the population trusts their government are Spain (25%), Poland (23%), Portugal (23%) and Slovenia (19%).