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Adults of all ages agree: There's little confidence in elected leaders

But in general, young adults have a lot more trust issues than their elders

Sixty percent of young adults in the United States believe other people "can't be trusted," according to a recent Pew Research survey, which found that younger Americans were far more likely than older adults to distrust both institutions and other people. But adults of all ages did agree on one thing: They all lack confidence in elected leaders.

While united in a lack of confidence, the cohorts disagreed on whether that's a major problem. The study found that young adults (ages 18-29) were less likely than older Americans to believe that poor confidence in the federal government, the inability of Democrats and Republicans to work together, and the influence of lobbyists and special interest groups were "very big problems."


Other results found that nearly three-quarters of young adults believe people "just look out for themselves" most of the time and that others "would try to take advantage of you if they got a chance."

Overall, nearly half of young adults were categorized by researchers as "low trusters," or people who view others as "selfish, exploitative and untrustworthy."

Only 19 percent of Americans aged 65 and older, on the other hand, were categorized as "low trusters."

It's unclear why younger Americans scored lower on the trust scale than their elders. According to Pew:

"The common thought is that changes in interpersonal trust over time are largely a cohort or generational phenomenon. Still, other research published this year asserts that people's interpersonal trust increases as they age. Social and institutional trust patterns can be complicated, as the Center's new report shows, and there is reason to believe that young adults' views and behaviors might change as they get older — and as the world around them changes."

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