Social Trust Tends to Fall as Population Rises

August 13, 2013 • Daily Email Recap

Social Trust Tends to Fall as Population Rises

A new study suggests increases in population size may lead to a breakdown in social trust.

The research, by Jordan Smith, Ph.D., of North Carolina State University, discovered that as local populations grow, local elected officials and national news media become less trusted – compared with friends and family, local churches and civic institutions.

Smith believes this “trust deficit” has implications for long-term environmental and community planning. The study is published online in Springer’s journal Human Ecology.

Smith examined three southern Appalachian mining communities during a period of change, amid growing controversy over the expansion of amenity-based industries (such as tourism and recreation areas), as well as its impact on both the environment and local communities.

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