Jan 20, 2019

The rise of a global class-driven trust divide

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

The 2010s saw a fall in the number of American kids

Data: William H. Frey analysis of U.S. Census estimates released Dec 30, 2019; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

There are 1.1 million fewer children living in the U.S. today than there were at the start of the decade, according to an analysis of new Census data by the Brookings Institution's William Frey.

The big picture: The adult population grew by 8.8% in the 2010s. in the three previous decades, the child population increased. The past decade marks a pivotal moment as the U.S. ages and, as a result, family life is transformed — especially because Americans are waiting longer to have children and having fewer of them.

Go deeperArrowJan 2, 2020

The decade of the very poor and the super rich

Data: The World Bank and World Poverty Clock. Note: 1999-2015 World Bank figures are incomplete in South Asia. 2016-2019 figures are World Poverty Clock projections. Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The 2010s may be remembered as the decade when the global 1% accumulated unfathomable wealth, but it was also perhaps the best decade ever for the world’s poorest people.

The big picture: The rate of extreme poverty around the world was cut in half over the past decade (15.7% in 2010 to 7.7% now), and all but eradicated in China.

Go deeperArrowDec 30, 2019

Americans are moving less

Data: Census 2019 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Fewer than 10% of Americans moved to new places in the 2018-2019 year, the lowest rate since the Census Bureau began tracking domestic relocations in 1947.

Why it matters: Despite a strong economy, more people are feeling locked in place. Young adults, who have historically been the most mobile, are staying put these days thanks to housing and job limitations. So are aging adults who are reluctant to (or can't afford to) make a move.