21 Honesty Statistics That Reveal Our True Colors 2024

Honesty Statistics

If you’re looking for the latest statistics on honesty, then look no further.

We have compiled a list of statistics on honesty, so you don’t have to. And guess what? They’re all relevant and interesting, so you can be sure that they’ll be worth your time!

We know you’ve been searching high and low for the latest and greatest information on honesty. We also know that it’s hard to find all of this information in one place. That’s why we put this list together. It’s a comprehensive look at all things honesty-related, so you can easily find the facts you need to make your point clear and your case compelling.

Honesty is a topic that’s near and dear to our hearts, so we wanted to share some of the most interesting statistics we could find. Here goes:

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General Honesty Facts and Statistics

1. Around three-quarters of people are consistently honest

(National Communication Association)

People are generally more honest than previously believed, according to a study published in the National Communication Association’s flagship journal. A study conducted by Timothy Levine from the University of Alabama, and Tony Docan-Morgan of the University of Wisconsin, tracked the dishonest behaviors of over 630 participants for three months.

The participants were asked to keep a daily journal of their deceptions, which resulted in a total of around 116,336 lies. According to the researchers, around three-quarters of the respondents were regularly honest, telling only 0-2 lies per day. A small group of 6% told more than 6 lies per day.

The reporters also found people have good and bad days for lying. While there are some pathological liars, most people only tell lies as a result of specific circumstances.


2. An influential study on dishonesty was found to be dishonest


Sometimes the information revealed about honesty in the public is less reliable than expected. Professor Dan Ariely published a paper in 2012 which formed the foundation of many assumptions about human honesty. In the paper, various honesty studies were conducted.

One found that 37% of participants cheated or were dishonest in both of the two tests conducted when an honesty pledge was at the top of a document.

In the study where the honesty pledge was placed at the bottom of the document, 79% of respondents cheated in the first test, and 63% were dishonest in the second.

The third study conducted by the researcher was found to be fraudulent.


3. Telling fewer lies leads to better health


A study shared at the 120th Annual American Psychological Association convention found fewer lies can improve human health. According to the researchers, the average American lies about something approximately 11 times per week. They wanted to discover if living honestly could improve the health of everyday people.

The research looked at 110 people, 66% of which were college students and 34% were adults. Approximately half of the respondents were asked to refrain from telling any small or significant lies for 10 weeks. Health tests were conducted on a weekly basis, and the participants were also required to take polygraph tests about their lying behaviors.

When the participants in the no-lying group told fewer than 3 small lies than they did in previous weeks, they had an average of four fewer mental health issues, like tension, and three fewer physical concerns, like headaches.

When the control group (not asked to reduce lying) told fewer than 3 small lies, they also complained of 2 fewer mental health issues, and 1 less physical concern.


4. People often mispredict the potential outcomes of honesty

(University of Chicago)

One of the most common reasons people tell lies is to avoid the potential negative outcomes of telling the truth. However, according to the University of Chicago, fear of honesty is unfounded. Researchers designed a series of 3 experiments to determine the possible outcomes of honesty.

Participants in the first experiment were asked to tell only the truth for 3 days. In the second experiment, individuals were asked to answer personal questions, and in the third, people were asked to give someone they cared about honest feedback.

In each test situation, the participants anticipated that speaking honestly would have negative results or harm their relationships. However, speaking the truth often had the opposite outcome, improving relationships and allowing for better comfort for the participant.


5. 29% of Americans admit having lied to their significant other about their sexual history

(Eden Fantasys)

It’s no secret that lying to your partner is a bad idea. But according to new research, it’s something that nearly one-third of us have done anyway.

A recent study found that almost one-third (29%) of American adults have lied about their sexual history to their partner. Men (37%) are more likely than women (25%) to have lied about their sexual history.

But why do we lie about our past? It turns out that there are a wide variety of reasons that include wanting to avoid guilt, awkwardness, and hurt feelings; wanting to seem desirable by making yourself seem more sexually experienced than you are; wanting to make up for previous lies by telling more lies; and finally just not wanting your partner knowing the truth!


6. 87% of Americans think that companies are not honest about the ingredients they use


It’s no secret that the American public has a love-hate relationship with the food industry. On one hand, we want to know what’s in our food so we can make informed decisions about what we eat. On the other hand, who wants to spend all of their time reading labels and worrying about every bite?

A recent study shows that the vast majority (87%) of Americans believe that companies are not honest about the ingredients they use. Moreover, 63% would be willing to pay more for products made and sourced responsibly.

The fact that so many people have this opinion suggests that there is a strong desire for honesty in food production and distribution.

This is a result of a growing distrust in corporate practices and an increasing desire for transparency from the brands people buy from.

It shows that people are aware of the fact that there is a lack of transparency in food production, but they also believe this lack of transparency can be fixed.


7. Honesty is the trait most valued by Britons when seeking a new partner


Let’s be honest: honesty is a pretty important trait to look for in a partner. And a new study shows that Britons feel this way!

According to a poll conducted by Seeking.com, honesty is the number one trait that Britons want in their partners

The poll asked 2,000 singles about the qualities they look for in a person who could be their next significant other, and honesty topped the list, with most respondents ranking it as the most important characteristic. After honesty, came kindness and sense of humor.


8. Honesty is the most important character trait that UK parents want their children to possess

The poll, which was carried out on behalf of Thomas & Friends, asked parents in the UK what they believe is the most important character trait that their kids will need to succeed in life.

Over a thousand parents were questioned for the survey, and honesty was overwhelmingly voted as the most important quality for children to be taught by their parents.

Kindness and self-confidence also featured highly on the list of desirable traits.

(Thomas & Friends)


Which People are the Most or Least Honest?

9. 85% of Americans consider nurses to be extremely honest


A Gallup poll looking at the professionals perceived to be the most honest found nurses ranked at the top of the scale for the 18th year in a row during 2020.

85% of the Americans in the survey considered the honesty and ethical standards of nurses to be either high, or very high. Engineers were the second professional considered to be most honest (66%), followed by doctors (65%) and pharmacists (64%).

Comparatively, Americans generally consider car salespeople to be the least honest. Only 9% of respondents said people in this field were honest and ethical. Members of Congress were second to the bottom of the list, with 12% of people saying they had high levels of honesty.


10. As you move down the management chain, the level of honesty decreases.


You know how you always hear people say that the top leaders in an organization set the tone for everyone else? Well, they’re right.

The business world is filled with stories of executives who have been caught in scandals, from Enron to Wells Fargo. But what about the people just below them? Do these same leaders set a poor example for those who work for them?

A study involving 5,268 leaders across five different organizations suggests that the answer is yes. Senior leaders set the tone for an organization’s culture, and this applies to their honesty as well.  The findings suggest a “ceiling effect” where honesty levels are highest at the top of the management chain but decrease as you move down.

The reason for this is that leaders set the tone for their organizations: They’re not just good at what they do, but they also set the standards for how people should behave. When those standards are high, employees tend to be more honest. But as you move down the hierarchy, standards are lowered, which means that honesty tends to decrease as well.

This phenomenon extends beyond just one company; it’s a pattern that occurs across industries and countries.

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11. In Ireland, 48% of people don’t trust their Government to tell the truth

(Project PERITIA)

According to a study commissioned by UCD as part of “Project PERITA”, 48% of Irish citizens do not trust their government to tell them the truth. Approximately 58% of the respondents in the study also said they think the Government often communicates biased or inaccurate information.

The research also found that 45% of respondents believe the Government actively ignores certain rules and policies. Further, 54% of the Irish population said they’re often unsure about whether to believe the information shared by the government.


12. Norway is the country most likely to trust governments to be honest

(Project PERITIA)

In a study commissioned by UCD and funded by the EU, individuals were surveyed across Poland, Norway, Germany, Italy, Ireland, and the UK. The countries were chosen to represent various cultures and contexts across Europe regarding population size and structure.

Poland had the most negative view of its government when it came to honesty, with 70% saying they didn’t believe the government was truthful. In the UK, 53% of respondents felt the same way – double the number of people who did believe the government to be honest.

People in Norway had the most positive perception of their government’s truthfulness. However, only 34% of people said the government was honest, compared to 36% saying it was not.


The Value of Honesty Statistics

13. 84% of people consider honesty to be an important characteristic of brands

(Ask Your Target Market)

A survey conducted by Ask Your Target Market (AYTM) found honesty is an important consideration among today’s consumers. Around 26% of the respondents in the survey considered themselves to be “very honest” people, while 48% said they were reasonably honest.

When asked about how they choose which businesses to buy from or work with, 84% said honesty was a crucial trait for businesses to portray. However, only 41% of respondents said they believe brands are generally “somewhat” honest with customers.

Interestingly, 85% of respondents said they are more likely to support the brands they perceive as honest. However, 29% of the participants agreed it is possible for companies to share too much honest information with clients.


14. Young people value humor and honesty most in friendships

(WISERD Education)

A longitudinal study into pupils in secondary schools throughout Wales found young people value certain characteristics most when choosing friends. The report looked at 895 pupils between the ages of 10 and 17, from schools around Wales.

Researchers asked participants what the most important qualities they looked for in a friend were and gave them 11 common responses to choose from. A good sense of humor was the most important factor, with 82% of the votes, while honesty came in second at 67%. Kindness was the third characteristic prioritized by students at 61%.

Notably, intelligence (11%) and popularity (4%) often ranked low among the concerns of young people when looking for a friend.


15. Honesty is the most important characteristic UK voters look for in politicians


According to a study conducted by UCL named “What Kind of Democracy Do People Want?” honesty is the most significant factor voters look for in politicians. The report looked at the responses of 6,500 citizens considered to be representative of the voting population in the UK.

When asked whether they would prefer a future prime minister to be honest or deliver the policy that the majority of citizens were asking for, 71% of respondents chose honesty as being more important. When asked about the characteristics all politicians should have, “honesty” was also ranked as the most valuable personality trait.

When asked whether healthy democracy required politicians to consistently follow the rules, 75% of respondents agreed that it did.


16. 95% of people say integrity is one of the organizational values of their workplace

(Integrity Solutions)

As part of their “Integrity in Selling” study, Integrity Solutions set out to find out whether honesty and integrity were still crucial in the modern business environment.

According to the report, 95% of the participants surveyed said integrity is still an essential part of their company’s values. Furthermore, 72% of the respondents said that employees at all levels should always operate with a sense of honesty, respect for others, and a high level of integrity.

Unfortunately, 38% of the respondents said they believe most employees cannot be trusted to keep their promises.


17. 81% of companies have honesty-based policies in place


A study conducted by EY found that businesses and corporate leaders generally consider honesty and integrity to be important among employees. 81% of executives in the report said codes of conduct and policies were in place to preserve honesty and integrity.

However, over half of the respondents surveyed also said people who breached these policies were not penalized for their behavior. What’s more, unethical and dishonest practices were sometimes accepted among these businesses.

Around 5% of leaders said they would misrepresent financial performance to help them survive an economic issue.


When are People Most Likely to Be Dishonest?

18. 23% of people admit they have lied to their doctors


According to TermLife2Go, in a survey of 500 people, 23% said they had lied to their doctors in the past. When the company explored the most common topics to lie about, they found that 46% of participants were dishonest about smoking, and 43% were dishonest about exercise.

A further 38% of respondents said they had lied about drinking, and 29% were dishonest about their sexual partners. Many respondents had also lied about multiple issues.

There were some gender differences when it came to the kind of lies patients were most likely to tell. Men (50%) were more likely to lie about alcohol than women (32%). Women, on the other hand, were more likely to lie about sexual partners (33% compared to 21% of men).

Patients older than 35 were also found to be more likely to lie about exercise habits, while individuals under the age of 35% were more likely to be dishonest about smoking.


19. About 80% of people don’t tell their doctors everything


A report published on the likelihood of patients telling their doctors the whole truth about their situation found up to 80% of participants aren’t entirely honest with healthcare providers.

While many respondents commonly lied about exercise and diet, over a third of respondents also didn’t say anything when they disagreed with their doctor about something.


20. 75% of respondents lie to their doctor due to embarrassment


Lying is often more commonplace in circumstances when we believe telling the truth might be embarrassing or detrimental in some way. Telling the truth to a doctor can be worrisome to many people seeking healthcare, as they’re concerned, they may be judged for their activities.

In TermLife2Go’s study of dishonesty among patients and doctors, the researchers found embarrassment was the most common reason to lie to a healthcare professional. 75% of the 500 respondents in the study said they had lied because of embarrassment. Another 31% said they were dishonest because they wanted to avoid discrimination.

Interestingly, the people who lied to avoid discrimination were generally female (80% compared to only 20% of males). 22% of the respondents said they were dishonest in their answers to healthcare questions because they believed their doctor might not take them seriously when they told the truth.


21. 60% of people can’t make it through a ten-minute conversation without one lie

(University of Massachusetts)

According to a study conducted in 2002 by the University of Massachusetts, 60% of adults are unable to complete 10 minutes of conversation without telling a lie. The people in the study also told an average of 3 lies within this time period.

This research builds on other surveys which have suggested that the average person lies at least once per day. When participants in the study watched tapes of their sessions back, they were often shocked to discover how many lies they had told.



In conclusion, honesty really is the best policy. Honesty is an essential part of our lives. We need it in our relationships, at work, and in our everyday interactions. Honesty can be hard, but it’s always worth it in the end.

The stats in this article show that being honest has a lot of benefits, both for individuals and for society as a whole.

So next time you’re tempted to lie, think about all of the reasons why honesty is the best choice. You might be surprised at how much better off you’ll be in the long run.

Be honest with yourself and with others, and you’ll see that life is much better when everyone is being truthful.

Thanks for reading!

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