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Expand chart
Adapted from the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer; Chart: Axios Visuals

Around the world, trust in societal institutions among those with higher household incomes and levels of educations reached a record high in 2018, while trust in those same institutions among the mass population remained stagnant, according to Edelman's 2019 Global Trust Barometer Study.

Why it matters: This growing divide in societal trust between the "informed public," as Edelman calls it, and the rest of society is giving rise to the grassroots populist and protectionist movements that we're seeing in political elections.

By the numbers: While trust is increasing among the informed public, it remains stagnant among the mass population, leading to a 16 percentage point difference in trust between the two groups.

  • 65% of the informed public say they have trust in nongovernmental organizations, business, government and media, while only 49% of the mass population feels the same.
  • The phenomenon is global. Among 28 nations surveyed around the world, 18 markets have double-digit trust gaps between the informed pubic and the mass population, including Australia, China, the UAE, India and Canada.

The nations with particularly large trust gaps are often those that are experiencing populist movements or elections that are underscored by extreme political polarization over the past two years, like U.S., the U.K., Mexico, Germany and France.

Between the lines: The study shows that mass populations often feel more pessimistic about their futures, and less served by traditional institutions.

  • In nearly half of the markets surveyed around the world, majorities of the mass populations do not believe they will be better off in five years.
  • In nearly every nation surveyed, the informed public is more optimistic about its future.

The bottom line: Trust in institutions is rising among the wealthier and better educated classes around the world, but is not growing among everyone else.

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.

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