The Trust Barometer

The trust program at Marie Cederschiöld University is a long-term venture that began in 2006 with multi-year support from the Länsförsäkringar Alliance research fund. This has funded both a doctoral student and senior research on social trust in Sweden. The program also subsequently received grants from the Swedish Research Council (VR), the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKL) and the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation (Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ)), which enabled further research, including the implementation of the first Trust Barometer (2009).

In January 2017 the program received additional long-term financial support from the Länsförsäkringar Alliance research fund to enable a new round of the Trust Barometer, which was implemented in 2017. In April 2020 the research fund also approved applications for funding to implement Trust Barometer 3 during the autumn and winter of 2020–2021.

The survey is being conducted by SCB -Statistics Sweden on behalf of the university. The Trust Barometer 3/2020 includes a further dozen municipalities as well as a panel study that began in 2017. Weighted data were delivered in mid-March 2021 and results from the analyses are reported in our "Live reports" (see below), in the media and, in time, in scientific articles.

Thanks to additional funding, also from the Länsförsäkringar Alliance research fund, a number of in-depth studies, which started in 2019, are being carried out in several municipalities and districts in Malmö and Stockholm. Results from these will be published in a book which is planned for release in the spring of 2022.

The map shows the municipalities included in the Trust Barometer. The study is also being carried out at district level in Malmö and Stockholm.

Live reports

Three reports which are "live", in the sense that they are regularly developed and updated, are published on the website:

Live Report 1 - The Trust Barometer. - presents results from the large surveys based on random samples (2009, 2017, 2020).

Live Report 2 - Panel Study. - presents results from the panel study that began in 2017.

Live Report 3 - The in-depth studies. - presents the ongoing in-depth studies.

We welcome comments, questions and suggestions from those who responded to the survey, interested parties from relevant municipalities, other researchers and the general public. As far as is possible, we will try to take such input into account in future editions of our reports.

Projects within the Trust Barometer (ongoing and completed)

The Trust Barometer is a national population survey conducted by SCB-Statistics Sweden on behalf of Ersta Sköndal Bräcke University. The survey is conducted at local/municipal level with the aim of studying the relationship between trust and variation in equality, involvement in local associations, obedience to the law, religiosity and ethnic diversity. The survey was first conducted in 2009, Trust Barometer 1, and then repeated in 2017, Trust Barometer 2. The results of these analyses show that, in addition to the general trust that is most often studied, a special form of trust can be identified. We call this local community trust. This form of trust is particularly sensitive to changes at local level, such as increased inequality and greater ethnic diversity. General trust, on the other hand, is more stable and seems to be related to upbringing and socialisation during adolescence and childhood.

In the first study from 2009, we were able to capture a significant variation regarding both general trust and local community trust, which is itself quite an important discovery. Thanks to the new survey in 2017, we were also able to compare the results from 2009 with those from 2017 to analyse changes and trends, and how these are linked to other factors in a Sweden that is under great pressure to change rapidly. For the 2017 survey, a sample was also included for Piteå, Stockholm and Gothenburg, as well as a concentrated sample for Malmö. Thanks to new support from the Länsförsäkringar Alliance research fund, Trust Barometer 3 was carried out during the autumn and winter of 2020/2021.

Read more about the project.

Civil society: "Meeting place for diversity" or "Children who are equal play best"?

The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent to which the civil society contributes to promoting trust and tolerance in a time of increasing diversity in Swedish society. The question is asked against the background of growing inequality, persistent unemployment and segregation that coincide with increasing migration flows. Some groups - young people without higher education, foreign-born and, in particular, refugee immigrants - are more at risk of long-term unemployment. This means that these groups have a particularly high need for precisely the social networks close to the labour market that they often lack. Read more about the project here.

Confidence among young people

Based on the Trust Barometer's data, Julia Grosse wrote the dissertation Kommer tid kommer tillit: Unga vuxnas och medelålders erfarnheter (With time comes trust: Young adults’ and middle-aged people’s experiences (2012)) where the aim was to examine trust among young adults. Read more about the dissertation here.

Social issues to work with in the future

Our education is linked to the UN's 17 global goals for sustainable development. These are goals that you can get tools to work with in the future:

U.N's global goals: Quality EducationU.N's global goals: Decent work and economic growthU.N's global goals: Reduced inequalities

About the project:

Project group/collaborators:
Time period: 2006 - ongoing
Research area: Centre for Civil Society Research
Project status: Ongoing
Financier: Länsförsäkringar Alliance research fund

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Last updated:
11 January 2023