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Press Release 03/10/2018


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The indicators of trust, networks, participation and information improved compared to 2012

Feelings of safety and the health and happiness index remained at high levels

The confidence of the population of the Basque Country in people in general reports a score of 6 out of 10 and reaches the highest level with regards to the networks of relatives and friends (7.2) and the lowest level with regards to institutions (4.8), still below the "pass level” despite the increases of three tenths in respect of 2012, according to the Survey on Social Capital carried out by Eustat.

Trust in the different professions (5.5) increased compared to both 2007 and 2012. The medical profession continues to be the most valued (7.6), followed by scientists and teachers (7.1); at the opposite extreme, professional politicians (2.4), priests (4.3) and the military (4.4) were the least valued, and employers (4.9) were very close to the “pass level”.


As regards networks of family and friends, the Basque population has an average of 24 people in their circle, slightly higher than the number reflected in previous editions, although this figure drops to 13 when we consider the close network.

Networks of friends are fairly homogenous, that is, the majority of the Basque population (59%) does not have friends with different religious beliefs or who have a different nationality, social position or dissimilar political tendencies. This indicator showed the greatest differences in relation to age and level of studies, increasing with age. Young people, aged below 35, had the least homogenous networks (4.7) and older people, aged 65 or over had the most homogenous (8.1); by level of studies, people with a lower level of studies had a more homogenous network (7.6) whereas the population with university studies showed greater diversity (4.6).

The socio-economic variables that most determined the size of the network of friends and family are type of family and social class; thus, couples with children reported networks of 26 family members and friends and single individuals had networks of 21, whereas those who resided in collective establishments had networks consisting of only 17 people. There were also differences between social classes, with the upper classes having networks of 26 family members and friends in contrast to the lower classes, where the number was 20.

Finally, it is worth mentioning the increase in the size of the close network of family and friends, which went from 11 people in 2012 to 13 in 2017. The variables of assistance afforded and received and access to the three types of assistance (financial, health-related and emotional) have bearing on the size of the network. In this sense, assistance afforded had an average score of 3.3 and assistance received reports a score of only 2, identical to the scores obtained in 2012 and below those from five years before. Difference by age stood out as young people aged under 25 had index scores of 4.9 in assistance afforded and 3.8 in assistance received and, in contrast, older people (aged 65 and over) only scored 1.7 in assistance afforded and 1.4 in assistance received.


Access to financial assistance increased by two tenths compared to 2012, to stand at 5.2. Of particular note is the difference between the upper classes, with an average value of 6.1, and the lowest classes, which only achieved 4.1. This difference remains, although less pronounced, in access to assistance for health problems, with values of 7 for the upper classes and 5.4 for the lower classes and in access to emotional assistance, with 6.5 and 5, respectively.

Social participation largely remains electoral participation with a very small presence of activities within associations

Social participation mainly entails electoral participation, with a small presence of activities in associations (0.6), despite this being higher than in 2012 (0.4). Thus, the Basque population continues to report high electoral participation, with an average score of 7.5, which translates to 3 out of 4 people voting in the last elections. Basques also remain interested in socio-political issues (5.9); however, their social and political activity is scant (1.20).

With regards to information on public affairs, the Basque population hold themselves to be no more than moderately informed (5.6), in spite of the abundance of information sources at various territorial levels (6.5 on average) and the widespread use of the media (6.5). In this sense, it was pensioners who reported accessing communication media less frequently (5.3), compared to those in work (7.1), who did so often.

The use of virtual networks, although still low, with an average of 2.2, increased compared to 2012 (1.9). It is also worth highlighting the difference in use between the younger population (aged 15-24), which stood at 3.3 and the population aged 65 or over, which was only 0.8.

The population reports greater levels of being informed with regards to events that are closer in nature, preferentially relating to their neighbourhood or area, their municipality or their Autonomous Region (more than 40% feel that they are highly informed), whilst they hold that they are less informed with regards to Spain (a third feel that they are highly informed) and, in particular, Europe (only 29% feel that they have a great deal of information).

Finally, the perception of corruption (6.4 out of 10) remained at a high level, very similar to that of 2012 (one tenth higher), in contrast to feelings of safety (8) and the index of health and happiness, which stood at 7.1, both also stable.

Health and happiness was also closely related to social class, as the most privileged posted a value of 8.1 and the least privileged of 6.3.


No significant differences appeared between men and women, the indicators of one sex being replicated in the data of the other, except in the cases of homogeneity of network of friends (women’s networks are slightly more homogeneous: 6.17 compared to 5.68 for men), trust in institutions (women are slightly more trusting: 4.98 compared to 4.62 for men) and use of virtual networks (more men than women make use of these networks: 2.41 compared to 2.04 for women).

For further information:

Eustat - Euskal Estatistika Erakundea / Basque Statistics Institute C/ Donostia-San Sebastián, 1 01010 Vitoria-Gasteiz Press Service: servicioprensa@eustat.es Tel: 945 01 75 62

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The indicators of trust, networks, participation and information improved compared to 2012

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Survey on Social Capital
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