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Americans’ Trust in Organizations and Individuals: An AARP Bulletin Survey

With an interest in learning more about those individuals and organizations in which adults place their trust and on behalf of the AARP Bulletin, in January 2013, AARP Research & Strategic Analysis fielded a short survey in January 2013.

Key Findings include:

  • Adults of all ages place more trust in individuals closest to them—their spouse (98% having a great deal or some trust), their best friend (94%), and their own doctor (93%).  Conversely, adults of all ages have the least trust in those more distant from them—Corporate CEOs (45%), strangers (35%), and used car salespersons (34%).
  • Just under half (48%) of those taking the survey reported having a spouse and said they have a great deal (92%) or some trust (6%) in their spouse (98%). 
  • High levels of trust (a great deal or somewhat) were also reported for local police (88%), neighbors (84%), and one’s banker (82%).
  • The President received a trust score of 66%, which is about the same level of job approval reported in other surveys fielded in late January 2013.
  • There are some minor, but significant differences by age groups (18-49 vs. 50+).  For example, just over six in ten (63%) adults age 18 to 49 report they trust their member of Congress, compared to just over half (56%) of those 50 or older who say they trust their member of Congress.
  • Similarly, there are some minor, but significant differences by gender (men vs. women).  For example, women reported higher levels of trust in the President (72%) than did men (62%).


The study was conducted for AARP via telephone by SSRS, an independent research company.  Interviews were conducted from January 23 – 27, 2013 among a nationally representative sample of 1,022 respondents 18 years of age or older. For more information, contact Albert Hollenbeck at 202-434-6280.

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