Chapman University recently completed its fourth annual Chapman University Survey of American Fears (2017). The survey asked respondents about 80 different fears across a broad range of categories including fears about the government, the environment, terrorism, health, natural disasters, and finances, as well as fears of public speaking, spiders, heights, ghosts and many other personal anxieties.
In addition to the set of fears examined in previous waves, the survey team took a closer look at one particular fear-related phenomena: fear of extremism.
In its fourth year, the annual Chapman University Survey of American Fears included more than 1,207 adult participants from across the nation and all walks of life that is a direct slice of the American population according to census data. The 2017 survey data is organized into four basic categories: personal fears, natural disasters, paranormal fears, and fear of extremism.
The 2017 survey shows that the top 10 things Americans fear the most are:
1) Corruption of government officials (same top fear as 2015 and 2016)
2) American Healthcare Act/Trumpcare (new fear)
3) Pollution of oceans, rivers and lakes (new in top 10)
4) Pollution of drinking water (new in top 10)
5) Not having enough money in the future
6) High medical bills
7) The U.S. will be involved in another world war (new fear)
8) Global warming and climate change
9) North Korea using weapons (new fear)
10) Air pollution
“The 2017 survey data shows us that while some of the top fears have remained, there has also been a pronounced shift to environmental fears,” said Christopher Bader, Ph.D., professor of sociology at Chapman University, who led the team effort. “We are beginning to see trends that people tend to fear what they are exposed to in the media. Many of the top 10 fears this year can be directly correlated to the top media stories of the past year.”