Can people be trusted? This question was one of those posed as part of a recent social survey conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics of data for the year 2016. The results indicate that, although the majority (59% above age 20) thinks that one should beware of trusting others and that most people can’t be trusted, the remaining 41% of respondents think that, in general, most people can be trusted.Sometimes there is an assumption that the wealthier people are, the less they trust others, but it may be that the reality is just the opposite. The survey reveals a connection, but found that people of a higher socioeconomic status tend to trust in others.Among those with incomes of NIS 4,001 and above per capita, about half of the respondents (51%) stated that people can be trusted, as opposed to 40% among lower income earners (NIS 2,001 to NIS 4,000 per capita), and only a quarter (25%) of lowest income earners.When examining non-economic variables as well, the findings were similar. Thus a much higher level of people who have an academic degree, as compared to those who don’t have higher education, tend to trust others (61% as opposed to 36%).Does religious identity influence the response? Among Jews, it is clear that higher levels of religiously observant people (54%) and secular people (52%) feel that others can be trusted, as opposed to the ultra-Orthodox (40%) and traditional Jews (36% to 41%).
What about Tel Aviv? Is it “dog eat dog” in that city? Not necessarily – most (54% among the Jews) respondents from Tel Aviv actually do tend to trust others, as opposed to 46% of Jewish Jerusalemites. In fact, among the big cities, Tel Aviv has the highest percentage of people who tend to trust others. It seems that satisfaction with life is also related to the tendency to trust others. Among Jews, a majority (54%) of people who stated that they are very satisfied with their lives said that most people can be trusted.The more satisfaction with life decreases, so does the tendency to trust others decrease. Only 15% of people who say they are not satisfied with their lives at all think that you can trust most people.It is also interesting to see that age also influences the willingness to trust. Those aged 40 to 49 trust others at higher levels (42%-46%) than other age groups do (37%-41%).We thank our readers for your ongoing trust in us, apologize if we have offended you in any way, and wish you a good New Year.The writer is an urban planner and researcher at the Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research.Translated by Gilah Kahn.