Perception of the honesty and ethics of U.S. doctors, nurses and pharmacists in the U.S. increased in 2020, according to a Gallup report published Dec. 22.
Each year, Gallup asks U.S. adults to respond to the following prompt for various professions: “Please tell me how you would rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in these different fields – very high, high, average, low or very low?”
Retaining the top spot on the list, as they have for most of the past 20 years, 89% of respondents rated the honesty and ethical standards of nurses as “high” or “very high” – a four-point increase from 2019.
Nurses have only had fewer than 80% of respondents say “high” or “very high” once, in 2004, when 79% did so.
Medical doctors were second at 77%, with the sharpest increase (12%) in “high” or “very high” responses since last year. This is the highest percentage over the past 17 surveys and is seven points above the previous high in 2011 and 2012.
Grade-school teachers were third at 75%. While they were not included in the 2019 survey, this is a nine-point increase from 2017, the last time they were included in the survey, and is an all-time high.
Pharmacists came in fourth at 71% – a seven-point jump from 2019 and the highest total since 2012.
Clergy ranked seventh on the list, with 39% of respondents saying their ethical standards and honesty were “high” or “very high.” Only 10% said “very high.”
This continues an overall downward trajectory of clergy perceptions since 2004 when 56% rated clergy “high” or “very high” in terms of ethics and honesty.
The low point was 2018 when only 37% said “high” or very high.” Positive perceptions increased slightly to 40% last year before dropping one point in 2020.
“Ratings of clergy are also higher among older Americans: 50% among those 55 and older and 41% among the middle age group, versus 24% among the youngest group,” the report said.