Americans rank “nearly all” professions lower than in recent memory in Gallup’s 2023 Honesty and Ethics poll, released on January 22. Except for veterinarians, who have not been included in a survey since 2006, the remaining 22 occupations have seen a decline in trust.

Out of 23 professions, labor union leaders are the only profession that has seen a decline since 2019, though only a quarter of Americans (25%) rate their honesty and ethics as “very high” or “high.” Most U.S. adults (78%, down seven percentage points from 2019) view nurses as trustworthy, remaining the most reliable profession for the 22nd consecutive year. In addition to nurses, engineers, dentists, medical doctors and pharmacists were also rated favorably by most Americans.

Professions viewed as the least ethical are members of the U.S. House (6%), U.S. senators (8%), car salespeople (8%) and advertising practitioners (8%). House members and senators tied or shared a new low with journalists (19%), pharmacists (55%) and clergy (32%). Trust in clergy is down eight percentage points since 2019.

“The image of many professions— particularly those in the medical field— sharply improved in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” Megan Brenan, a research consultant, and Jeffrey M. Jones, senior editor, write. “However, that effect was short-lived, and many ratings have since declined to all-time lows. Almost all professions are now viewed less positively than they were a year ago and four years ago. A select few— led by nurses for the 22nd consecutive year— maintain overall positive ratings.”

Gallup has recorded various professions’ honesty and ethics ratings since 1976. To read the full report, click here.

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