Politics

What Do Americans Fear the Most?

from – blogs.chapman.edu 

Americans are afraid of many things, from terror attacks to identity theft and deaths within the family, but according to a recent study, their number one fear is corrupt government officials.

The data from third annual Chapman University Survey of American Fears showed that terrorist attacks ranked second on the list of top fears, and the recent uptick in homegrown attacks like the Pulse nightclub massacre and San Bernardino seem to have increased some Americans mistrust of Muslims.

Interesting to note is that Americans ranked  fear of the Affordable Health Care Act/”Obamacare” in the top ten.

Here are the top 10 fears of 2016:

  • Corruption of government officials (same top fear as 2015) — 60.6%
  • Terrorist attacks — 41%
  • Not having enough money for the future — 39.9%
  • Being a victim of terror — 38.5%
  • Government restrictions on firearms and ammunition — 38.5%
  • People I love dying — 38.1%
  • Economic or financial collapse — 37.5%
  • Identity theft — 37.1%
  • People I love becoming seriously ill — 35.9%
  • The Affordable Health Care Act/”Obamacare” — 35.5%

America’s Top Fears 2016 

Chapman University Survey of American Fears

The Chapman University Survey of American Fears Wave 3 (2016) provides an unprecedented look into the fears of average Americans. In April of 2016, a random sample of 1,511 adults from across the United States were asked their level of fear about seventy-nine different fears across a huge variety of topics ranging from crime, the government, disasters, personal anxieties, technology and many others.

fear-survey-2016_page_1-740x572

Domains of Fear

There were 10 major “domains” of fear addressed by the survey, including:

Fear Domain Types of Questions Included
Crime Murder, rape, theft, burglary, fraud, identity theft
Economic Not having enough money for the future, becoming unemployed, etc.
Environment Global warming, overpopulation, pollution
Government Government corruption, Obamacare, drones, gun control, etc.
Illness and Death High medical bills, becoming ill, dying
Immigration/Demographic Changes Illegal immigration, whites no longer being majority in US
Man-Made Disasters Bio-warfare, terrorism, nuclear attacks
Natural Disasters Earthquakes, droughts, floods, hurricanes
Personal Fears Tight spaces, public speaking, clowns, vaccines
Relationships Significant other cheating, others talking about you behind your back
Technology Artificial intelligence, robots, cyber-terrorism

 

Top 10 Fears of 2016

Below is a list of the 10 fears for which the highest percentage of Americans reported being “Afraid,” or “Very Afraid.”

Fear Fear Domain % Afraid or Very Afraid
Corrupt government officials Government 60.6
Terrorist Attack Manmade Disasters 41
Not having enough money for the future Economic 39.9
Terrorism Crime 38.5
Government restrictions on firearms and ammunition Government 38.5
People I love dying Illness and Death 38.1
Economic/financial collapse Economic 37.5
Identity theft Crime 37.1
People I love becoming seriously ill Illness and Death 35.9
The Affordable Health Care Act/Obamacare Government 35.5

fear-survey-2016_page_2-740x572

The Complete List of Fears, 2016

The following is a complete, list of all of the fears addressed by the Chapman University Survey of American Fears Wave 3 (2016), including the percent of Americans who reported being afraid or very afraid.

Sorted by Percent Afraid/Very Afraid 

Fear Fear Domain % Afraid or Very Afraid
Corrupt government officials Government 60.6
Terrorist Attack Manmade Disasters 41
Not having enough money for the future Economic 39.9
Terrorism Crime 38.5
Government restrictions on firearms and ammunition Government 38.5
People I love dying Illness and Death 38.1
Economic/financial collapse Economic 37.5
Identity theft Crime 37.1
People I love becoming seriously ill Illness and Death 35.9
The Affordable Health Care Act/Obamacare Government 35.5
Credit card fraud Crime 35.5
Biological warfare Manmade Disasters 34.8
Reptiles Personal Fears 33.2
Government tracking of personal data Technology 33.1
High medical bills Illness and Death 33.1
The US will be involved in another World War Manmade Disasters 32.3
Global warming and climate change Environment 32.3
Nuclear weapons attack Manmade Disasters 31.5
Cyber-terrorism Technology 30.7
Being hit by a drunk driver Crime 30.4
Pollution of oceans, rivers and lakes Environment 30
Devastating tornado Natural Disasters 29.7
Pandemic or a major epidemic Manmade Disasters 29.3
Corporate tracking of personal data Technology 28.7
Extinction of plant and animal species Environment 27.9
Pollution of drinking water Environment 27.9
Break-ins Crime 27.6
Widespread civil unrest Manmade Disasters 27.6
Nuclear accident/meltdown Manmade Disasters 27.5
Random/mass shooting Crime 26.9
Oil spills Environment 26.8
Collapse of the electrical grid Manmade Disasters 26.2
Pubic speaking Personal Fears 25.9
Theft of property Crime 25.5
Losing my data, photos or other important documents in a disaster Natural Disasters 25.2
Insects/arachnids Personal Fears 25
Becoming unemployed Economic 24.6
Heights Personal Fears 24.5
Devastating drought Natural Disasters 23.9
Illegal immigration Immigration/Demographic change 23.8
Devastating hurricane Natural Disasters 23.3
Devastating earthquake Natural Disasters 22.7
Devastating flood Natural Disasters 22.2
Murder by a stranger Crime 21.9
Devastating blizzard/winter storm Natural Disasters 21.8
Government use of drones within the US Government 21.7
Financial fraud (such as a Ponzi scheme, embezzlement, etc.) Crime 21.5
Sexual assault by a stranger Crime 21.5
Mugging Crime 21.3
Gang violence Crime 21.1
Walking alone at night Crime 21.1
Deep lakes and oceans Personal Fears 20.8
Air Pollution Environment 20.7
Becoming seriously ill Illness and Death 20.3
Racial/hate crime Crime 19.9
Police brutality Crime 19.6
Abduction/kidnapping Crime 19.5
Becoming the victim of a violent crime Crime 19.4
Dying Illness and Death 19
Becoming the victim of a property crime Crime 18.6
Sexual assault by someone you know Crime 18.1
Whites no longer being the majority in the US Immigration/Demographic change 17.9
Murder by someone you know Crime 17.5
Stalking Crime 17.4
Small enclosed spaces Personal Fears 16.8
Needles Personal Fears 16.7
Computers replacing people in the workforce Technology 16.6
Technology I don’t understand Technology 15.7
Large volcanic eruption Natural Disasters 15
Germs Personal Fears 14.9
Flying Personal Fears 12.1
Blood Personal Fears 11.7
Animals (dogs, rats, etc). Personal Fears 10.9
Significant other cheating on you Relationships 10.2
Zombies Personal Fears 10.2
Strangers Personal Fears 9.8
Ghosts Personal Fears 8.9
Clowns Personal Fears 7.8
Others talking about you behind your back Relationships 6.8

 

Sorted Alphabetically

 

Fear Fear Domain % Afraid or Very Afraid
Abduction/kidnapping Crime 19.5
Air Pollution Environment 20.7
Animals (dogs, rats, etc). Personal Fears 10.9
Becoming seriously ill Illness and Death 20.3
Becoming the victim of a property crime Crime 18.6
Becoming the victim of a violent crime Crime 19.4
Becoming unemployed Economic 24.6
Being hit by a drunk driver Crime 30.4
Biological warfare Manmade Disasters 34.8
Blood Personal Fears 11.7
Break-ins Crime 27.6
Clowns Personal Fears 7.8
Collapse of the electrical grid Manmade Disasters 26.2
Computers replacing people in the workforce Technology 16.6
Corporate tracking of personal data Technology 28.7
Corrupt government officials Government 60.6
Credit card fraud Crime 35.5
Cyber-terrorism Technology 30.7
Deep lakes and oceans Personal Fears 20.8
Devastating blizzard/winter storm Natural Disasters 21.8
Devastating drought Natural Disasters 23.9
Devastating earthquake Natural Disasters 22.7
Devastating flood Natural Disasters 22.2
Devastating hurricane Natural Disasters 23.3
Devastating tornado Natural Disasters 29.7
Dying Illness and Death 19
Economic/financial collapse Economic 37.5
Extinction of plant and animal species Environment 27.9
Financial fraud (such as a Ponzi scheme, embezzlement, etc.) Crime 21.5
Flying Personal Fears 12.1
Gang violence Crime 21.1
Germs Personal Fears 14.9
Ghosts Personal Fears 8.9
Global warming and climate change Environment 32.3
Government restrictions on firearms and ammunition Government 38.5
Government tracking of personal data Technology 33.1
Government use of drones within the US Government 21.7
Heights Personal Fears 24.5
High medical bills Illness and Death 33.1
Identity theft Crime 37.1
Illegal immigration Immigration/Demographic change 23.8
Insects/arachnids Personal Fears 25
Large volcanic eruption Natural Disasters 15
Losing my data, photos or other important documents in a disaster Natural Disasters 25.2
Mugging Crime 21.3
Murder by a stranger Crime 21.9
Murder by someone you know Crime 17.5
Needles Personal Fears 16.7
Not having enough money for the future Economic 39.9
Nuclear accident/meltdown Manmade Disasters 27.5
Nuclear weapons attack Manmade Disasters 31.5
Oil spills Environment 26.8
Others talking about you behind your back Relationships 6.8
Pandemic or a major epidemic Manmade Disasters 29.3
People I love becoming seriously ill Illness and Death 35.9
People I love dying Illness and Death 38.1
Police brutality Crime 19.6
Pollution of drinking water Environment 27.9
Pollution of oceans, rivers and lakes Environment 30
Pubic speaking Personal Fears 25.9
Racial/hate crime Crime 19.9
Random/mass shooting Crime 26.9
Reptiles Personal Fears 33.2
Sexual assault by a stranger Crime 21.5
Sexual assault by someone you know Crime 18.1
Significant other cheating on you Relationships 10.2
Small enclosed spaces Personal Fears 16.8
Stalking Crime 17.4
Strangers Personal Fears 9.8
Technology I don’t understand Technology 15.7
Terrorism Crime 38.5
Terrorist Attack Manmade Disasters 41
The Affordable Health Care Act/Obamacare Government 35.5
The US will be involved in another World War Manmade Disasters 32.3
Theft of property Crime 25.5
Walking alone at night Crime 21.1
Whites no longer being the majority in the US Immigration/Demographic change 17.9
Widespread civil unrest Manmade Disasters 27.6
Zombies Personal Fears 10.2

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Rand Allan
4 years ago

While many of our fears are real and based upon personal observation of the events affecting us, too many of our fears are fueled by govt and media propaganda. The govt tells us who to hate and who to fear as a way of gaining control over the population. People naturally want to feel safe, and if govt plays on that fear, more of the population becomes willing to turn over their liberties in exchange for the promised “security” the govt offers. When people start to wise up, failing govts will often create false flag attacks and diversions to divert attention away from their failings to bring the naysayers back into the fold. The public needs to resist their efforts to scare us.

The media also fuels our fears with their “If it bleeds, it leads” mentality and their own political leanings. I remember a few years ago in San Diego reading in the paper about how horrible crime was in the city, and that mentality had permeated the whole of society to be afraid of everything around them. I decided to do a search on historical crime stats for the City and was shocked to discover that at nearly all categories of crime, the rate was lower than when I was a kid in the 1950s. Then, we didn’t worry about locking our cars and homes, didn’t worry about the kids wandering down the street to play with the neighbor kids, and didn’t worry about perverts accosting and kidnapping our children. We were taught the standard safety practices such as don’t talk to strangers, don’t play in the street if there are cars coming, look both ways when crossing. Now that the internet makes information from around the world instantly available, the media reports every bad thing as if it is happening right in your neighborhood. This fuels the impression that the world is a horribly unsafe place, when in reality, the bad things that happen to the individual are no greater than they were 60 years ago.

We need to learn to stop being afraid of our shadows, learn to take responsibility for our individual safety, and resist the urge to run to govt for every want and fear that we have and refuse govt’s efforts to “take care” of us.

mickey c ross
4 years ago

I know this might sound silly but what scares me the most is the american people, now I know I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer but I’m not plumb stupid to put Obama in the White House twice and now to turn around and put another person in the White House that wants to carry on Obama’s way of thinking how america should be and not what it could be…..

Frank cicero
4 years ago

Fear is a communist tool along with brainwashing the public with interests that is not God like. There is no shortage of written and verbal protest but what follows after that is the reason why Clinton wants to disarm American law abiding citizens.

Jaehead
4 years ago

Massive widespread growing corruption in FED/GOV Agencies is the primary problem today in the USA.
Our Congress is BROKEN. (i.e.: McCain, Ryan, etc. RINO-Quislings). The IRS, VA, DHS, EPA, BLM are but a few good examples of useless Government money wasted.

Dave
4 years ago

While traveling through Kansas last week saw a sign that said; I fear Hillary and Cane winning the White House much more than I fear ISIS. On another note, if our collective fear is over 60% for corrupt government officials, then why do we continue to elect them back into office? Insanity – Doing the same thing over and over while looking for new results.

Thomas F. Wuthrich
4 years ago

How do we explain the discrepancy between the results of this poll and polls which show the two most corrupt government officials in US history…Obama and Hillary Clinton…being so popular? Obama’s approval rating is in the mid-50s and Hillary Clinton (if you can believe the polls) appears poised to win the Presidency.

Wayne Peterkin
4 years ago

Pretty wide margin in favor of government corruption, which clearly indicates that many people (myself included) fear that government is already corrupt and in desperate need of being fixed. That will depend entirely on the people electing better politicians than what we have today. While I think my current legislators are pretty straight, although not always as conservative as I would prefer, what we see from Washington in general is very bleak, and most of the corruption will be reelected. In fact, it looks like the most corrupt and sleazy politician in my long history, Hillary Clinton, has an excellent chance. While I don’t think Trump is much better, I do think he’s the lesser of evils here. My point is that we have a lousy choice this year for president yet the choice was determined by the people who participated in the primaries. I think it was Plato who said “One of the penalties of not participating in politics is that you will be governed by your inferiors.” We get the government we deserve by our participation in the process. Elect honest and honorable people and we get better government. Fail to do so and we get what we see today. If the American people fail to wake up and vote for character and morals over bad campaign promises, this nation will not survive. I fear for my grandkids futures.

Glenn Lego
4 years ago

Hillary Clinton becoming President

Raymond
4 years ago
Reply to  Glenn Lego

Right. I have the same fear. Her becoming president, but the biggest fear is: I know it will happen!

Ann Mallory
4 years ago
Reply to  Raymond

God forbid!

SML
4 years ago

I take that back – the thing I fear most is the prospect of Hillary Clinton winning the election!

SML
4 years ago

ALL of the above

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