Ordinary citizens too often stand on the front line against corruption. They face demands for bribes to see a doctor, find a school place for their children, or file a police complaint. And it is always those who are least able to pay a bribe who suffer most.

It’s no wonder that measuring corruption is at the heart of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Transparency International also believes it is necessary to have good quality data. That is why it is important to ask real people how they face corruption in their daily lives.

The latest findings from Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer series – the world's largest survey asking citizens about their direct personal experience of corruption in their daily lives – shows what people experience and just how far countries have to go to fight corruption.

Bribery rates around the world

Nearly one in four people paid a bribe when they accessed a public service in the 12 months prior to when the question was asked:

So it is not so surprising that the majority of people around the world do not think governments are doing well fighting corruption.

Ordinary people can make a difference

The good news is more than half the people around the world – and particularly young people – agreed that citizens could make a difference.

Fifty-eight per cent of people aged 24 and under said they feel empowered to make a difference. Fifty per cent of those aged 55 also agreed.

Police and elected officials named most corrupt

We asked people to identify which institutions they felt were most corrupt. The police and elected officials came tied top overall with 36 per cent of people responding they were highly corrupt, more than for any other group or institution we asked about.

There were some regional differences:

  • In Asia Pacific (39 per cent) and Sub Saharan Africa (47 per cent) police were seen as the most corrupt
  • In Europe and Central Asia (31 per cent) elected representatives were seen as the most corrupt
  • In the Americas both the police and elected representatives faired worst (46 per cent)
  • In the Middle East and North Africa elected representatives, tax officials and government officials were thought to be highly corrupt by 45 per cent of the population, a higher percentage than for any other institution

The results cover 119 countries, territories and regions around the globe. It is based on interviews with 162,136 adults from March 2014 until January 2017.

Full summary report: People and Corruption: citizens’ voices from around the world

For Transparency International’s recommendations on combatting corruption in public services, from governance to public procurement, go here.


Regional reports in the Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) Series were carried out in different periods in the year 2015 and 2017 in Latin America and the Caribbean; Asia Pacific; Europe and Central Asia; Middle East and North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. After completion of the survey in each of the regions, Transparency International separately presented the results.

In this GCB survey Armenia was included in Europe-Central Asia (ECA) region. The results and findings of ECA survey were officially released by Transparency International (TI) in November, 2016. On the same day the results of ECA, as well as Armenia were presented in a press conference organized by Transparency International Anticorruption Center (TIAC) as TI’s official representative in Armenia. The results on GCB 2016 in ECA presented during the press conference are available on TIAC website. See https://transparency.am/en/gcb.

Having all the data of all regions/continents, TIAC decided to clarify whether or not by its results Armenia was globally thought to be leader or anti-leader. The result was unfortunately rather disapproving. The answers to the 8 questions posed to 119 countries and territories included in GCB questionnaire show that Armenia is not a leading country in any of the questions. Moreover, it is rather anti-leader according to a number of indices that GCB questionnaire shows. By the way all those indices refer to citizen’s perception of his/her role and place in fight against corruption.

In particular, among all 119 countries and territories it is in Armenia that most of the respondents stated that reporting corruption was socially not accepted in his/her country (77%). Armenia is also world anti-leader in not reporting corruption (67% of Armenian respondents told they would not be obliged to report about corruption, even if they witnessed the act of corruption) and in not witnessing corruption (73% of respondents told they would not witness of corruption in court). Finally, Armenia shares 2nd-3rd places regarding ordinary people’s making difference in the fight against corruption (63% of the Armenian respondents think that ordinary people do not make difference in the fight against corruption). Here Czech Republic is the world anti-leader.