Nurses remain the most ethical and honest professionals according to U.S. adults in Gallup’s annual survey on perceptions of various career fields.

Nearly one third (29%) of all respondents rated nurses as “very high” when asked to “rate the honesty and ethical standards” of 18 professions.

This is the 20th year in a row that nurses have topped the list in Gallup’s poll, and it is a two-point increase in “very high” responses from 2021. However, this represents a significant decline from 2020, when 41% said “very high.” When looking at a combination of very high and high responses, 79% of U.S. adults rated nurses as one of these options – down two points from 2021 and 10 points from 2020.

Medical doctors were the second most highly rated profession at 17% very high and 45% high, followed by pharmacists (14% very high; 44% high); high school teachers (14% and 39%, respectively) and police officers (13% and 37%, respectively).

No other professions had more than 10% of all adults rate their honest and ethics as very high, and no other professions had a combined very high / high rating of more than 50%.

Clergy had an 8% very high ethics and honest rating, and a combined 34% very high / high rating. This tied with judges at 8% in the very high responses, but they were behind both accountants (41%) and judges (39%) in the very high / high combined ratings.

Clergy tied for sixth (out of 18 professions) in very high responses and were eighth in very high / high combined responses.

In 2021, 36% of all respondents rated clergy ethics and honesty as very high / high, while 39% did so in 2020 and 40% in 2019.

“Members of the clergy were first measured by Gallup in 1977 and were frequently among the top-rated professions until 2002, amid a sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church,” Pew noted in a press release announcing the report. “While the clergy’s high/very high ethics ratings recovered to some degree in subsequent years, they fell to 50% in 2009 and have been declining since 2012 as Americans’ religious identification and church attendance have also fallen. The latest reading of 34% for members of the clergy is the lowest by two points.”

The full report is available here. The margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points.

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