Friday, January 30, 2009

Social Trust in Europe

Mark Easton has another interesting map this week. This one shows levels of trust and belonging among 15-24 year olds across 22 European countries.



It's from a study called the National Accounts of Well-Being. According to Easton, the study

tries to measure trust and belonging by comparing answers to questions such as these:
• Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted, or that you can't be too careful in dealing with people?
• Do you think that most people would try to take advantage of you if they got the chance, or would they try to be fair?
• Would you say that most of the time people try to be helpful or that they are mostly looking out for themselves?


As you can see, young people in Great Britain and Bulgaria are the least trustworthy. The most trusting appear to be in Hungary and Norway. Strangely, there don't seem to be any sort of patterns to the geographical distribution of trust whatsoever. Scandinavia - so often a uniform block of strong social health indicators - ranges from the very trusting Norwegians to the fairly suspicious Finns. The old Warsaw Pact countries include one the trustingest (Hungary) and one of the least trusting (Bulgaria). Catholic or Protestant countries? Ethnically homogeneous or plural society? There seem to be no strong correlations.

However, the study also rates overall well-being, which combines ratings of social well-being like the one depicted above with ratings of individual well-being, such as "positive feelings," "vitality," "self-esteem," a sense of meaning and purpose, etc. And here some clearer patterns begin to emerge. And here, irritatingly, Scandinavia's dominance of positive social indicators once more asserts itself: Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark, plus the might-as-well-be-Scandinavian Netherlands, all score near the top; but so do the Alpine countries of Switzerland and Austria. (I tell you, mountains are good for the soul!) And - also true to form - the old Eastern Bloc countries bring up the social health rear, with Ukraine putting in a particularly weak showing.

One final note: the study also rates "optimism." And who comes in dead last in that category? France. Shocking, I know.

They've got a bunch of interesting maps like this over there - go check it out.

24 comments:

MacD said...

Countries with high rates of foreign immigration are darker.

Chachy said...

I don't think that's consistently the case. The highest immigrant population in Europe is Switzerland - one of the most trusting countries. Ireland is also near the top, but is more trusting England, Germany, and France, which are all in the middle of the pack in terms of % immigrant population. Norway, Portugal, Belgium, and England all have 5-10% immigrant populations, yet they're all over the map (literally) in terms of social trust. Etc.

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A little surprised Germany's so low, except for recent news items...

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4shared said...

Norway, Portugal, Belgium, and England all have 5-10% immigrant populations, yet they're all over the map (literally) in terms of social trust. Etc. Gemscool. I don't think that's consistently the case 4Shared

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Dorine van Woerden said...

What is the way forward for the EU? Focused to get an important contribution to this question, this ebook discusses the main problem EU is facing: lack of trust. By what is it fed, and by what can we dissolve it?

www.seniortrainee.com

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