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Americans Are More Afraid, Survey Finds

Friday, November 30, 2018

Americans are increasingly afraid. This is one of the most striking findings from the 2018 Chapman University Survey of American Fears. This year as in past years, the number one fear – mentioned by the largest share of the public – is fear of corrupt government officials. But the percentage of Americans who say government corruption scares them has climbed, rising from 61% to 74% between 2016 and 2018.

Corruption is not the only thing Americans are increasingly frightened about, Chapman University reports. Many things are scaring them more. In fact, all of the top 10 fears in 2018 scare more than half the public. In 2016, most of the top 10 fears scared only about one-third of the public.

Top 10 fears of 2018 (percent saying they are afraid)

  1. Corrupt government officials: 74%
  2. Pollution of oceans rivers, and lakes: 62%
  3. Pollution of drinking water: 61%
  4. Not enough money for the future: 57%
  5. Someone you love will become seriously ill: 57%
  6. People you love dying: 56%
  7. Air pollution: 55%
  8. Extinction of plant and animal species: 54%
  9. Global warming and climate change: 53%
  10. High medical bills: 53%

Another trend Chapman University sees in the list of fears is the rise of environmental concerns. Five of the top 10 fears of 2018 are environmental. In 2016, the number of environmental concerns in the top 10 list was zero.

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