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Survey: Finland ranks number one in citizen trust

Finns' trust in fellow citizens is higher than anywhere else in Europe, finds a new Eurobarometer study.

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Finns trust each other more than other Europeans trust fellow citizens. Image: Elina Rantalainen / Yle

More than four in five Finns say they trust other Finns, making the country's residents the most trusting people in Europe.

Finns are not used to looking over their shoulder, as most citizens trust each other, according to a Eurobarometer study that surveyed some 28,000 people across Europe, some 1,000 of them in Finland.

“The results show that Finns trust strangers,” says Antti Kouvo, head of the Kuopio Welfare Research Center (KWRC) at the University of Eastern Finland. Rounding out the top spots are Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, and the Netherlands. Meanwhile Slovakia, Greece and Cyprus fill out the bottom.

Economic prosperity and perceptions of societal equality have helped instill a trusting quality among Finns. Factors contributing to low trust include poor health and feelings of unhappiness.

Kouvo says Finns hold their public institutions in high regard, including the judiciary, healthcare, and police, further strengthening the citizenry’s trust in one another.

“In the Nordics, high trust levels can be explained by a welfare model based on equality and a universal right to basic services. This prevents an 'us' vs 'them' division from forming, explains Maria Bäck, a political researcher at Åbo Akademi.

Findings did not indicate that immigration and multiculturalism erode general confidence in society. However corruption and inequality contribute to citizens losing trust in people.

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