In January 2018, the Hopebarometer was used to study how hopeful Dutch citizens feel. On average, people scored a 6.1 on the multidimensional hope-index. The theme of this edition was ‘Trust in the future’ and focused on trust and expectations. Results showed that people are optimistic about their personal life and the economy, but pessimistic about other societal developments in for example education, healthcare and safety.

For this study 1.600 Dutch citizens were asked to respond to several statements. Overall, most people seemed to be rather hopeful. However, 26% of them scored ‘insufficient’ (lower than a 5.5). People with a lower income, low education, poor health or weak social network more often seem to lack hope.

To asses how trustful people are about the future, two dimensions were measured; trust and expectations. Firstly, Dutch citizens seem to have varying expectations of the future. Many people expect an improvement when it concerns the economy (55%), their personal life (35%) or personal finances (29%), but a deterioration when it comes to the climate (57%), health care (35%), safety (30%) or education (25%).

Moreover, people generally seem to trust people who are close to them (family, neighbours). But with distance comes distrust; strangers and most societal institutes are considered not too trustworthy. With a score of 5.6, Dutch citizens appear to only just sufficiently trust important societal institutes. People have most trust in the local police (6.5) and least in religious institutes (4.4).

The people who score low on hope, usually also have pessimistic expectations and a lack of trust. Again, this is most common among people with low income, low education, poor health and/or lack of a social network. Therefore, there is a chance of polarization between people with positive current circumstances and hope for the future, and a group of people who feel poorly at the moment, and don’t expect improvements for the future.

The full report (in Dutch) can be found here.