Trust in economic and political institutions has declined markedly among U.S. residents in the last year, according to a recent international study conducted by market research organization GfK Verein.

GfK’s Global Trust Report, which polled residents in more than two-dozen countries on the levels of trust they place in various institutions, sectors and professions, found that political parties now comprise the least trusted bodies in the U.S. today.


Only 14 percent of U.S. respondents currently claim to trust political parties, compared to 23 percent in 2015 and 27 percent in 2013. Additionally, only 41 percent of U.S. residents now say they view the U.S. government as trustworthy.

Other sectors experiencing a recent trust deficit in the U.S. include the justice system and the church. Both of those categories accounted for some the largest year-over-year declines in the study, with the church now trusted by only 69 percent of U.S. residents (compared to 74 percent the previous year) and the justice system now trusted by only a little more than half of all Americans (53 percent, an eight-percent decline from 61 percent in 2015).

Across the U.S.'s economic sector, telecommunication companies and Internet service providers saw considerable reputation slumps, now trusted by only about half of the population (51 percent). Pharmaceutical corporations have decreased by 14 percentage points, to 44 percent.

The media and international corporations / large companies also experienced big reputational dips, with the former falling six points and the latter eight points, with only 36 percent and 33 percent of the population, respectively, now claiming to trust them.

The media and large companies are now beat only by political parties as the least trusted institutions in the U.S., viewed as less trustworthy than government, the justice system, the church or even the Internet.

On the other hand, the military continues to inspire the highest level of trust both in the U.S. and globally. 84 percent of U.S. respondents and 79 percent of respondents worldwide see the military as a trusted institution. The police took the number-two position in the U.S., trusted by three-quarters of the population, which accounts for a slight improvement from 2015.

GfK’s Global Trust Report 2017 gauged responses from more than 28,000 people living in 25 countries. U.S. data for the study was collected by GfK’s opinion research unit KnowledgePanel. Research was conducted between September and October 2016.