America's biggest fears are much changed from last year

Healthcare & corruption = scary. Animals & clowns? Not so much.
Author:
Publish date:
Image placeholder title

It's not an understatement to say that the past 12 months in America have been tumultuous.

The election of President Donald Trump has radically altered elements of the political and cultural landscape of the U.S., and the upheaval appears to be filtering down to the ordinary American.

For the past four years, Chapman University has carried out a survey of Americans asking them to describe their level of fear about 80 different fears across a range of topics, including crime, the government, environment, personal life, technology and more.

The results for 2017 are in and it marks quite a major shift from 2016.

Image placeholder title

The fear of "corruption of government officials" is still number 1, but people are more scared of it now than they were a year ago, with 74.5 percent saying they're "afraid" or "very afraid" of this compared to 60.6 percent a year ago.

The ongoing controversy over healthcare means "Trumpcare" is Americans' 2nd biggest fear, and "high medical bills" 6th. Last year, Obamacare was 11th.

Environmental fears are greater too, with "pollution of oceans, rivers and lakes" and "pollution of drinking water" 3rd and 4th in the list of 2017's biggest fears, with "air pollution" in 10th.

Climate change also enters the top 10 in 8th place, at a time when the government is slashing environmental regulations.

Compare that to last year, when climate change was 15th on the list.

Fear over international diplomacy is also apparent, with "the US being involved in another World War" and "North Korea using weapons" ranking 7th and 9th in this year's list.

The Washington Post's Christopher Ingraham has put the top fears for 2016 compared to 2017 in this handy chart.

What's driving this?

Before the accusations of bias, it does looks like the top 10 fears from 2016 and 2017 are dictated by whoever's in power.

In 2016, President Obama was in power and Hillary Clinton a strong favorite to succeed him.

It's therefore little surprise that "government restrictions on firearms and ammunition," "economic collapse" and "terrorism," fears often associated with the American right, feature in last year's top 10.

Fears of a terrorist attack and terrorism, which were 2nd and 4th respectively last year, appear to have subsided this year.

This could well be a reflection that many of those who feared terror attacks last year feel more secure under a Trump presidency.

On the lighter side, the thing Americans are least scared of now are animals, which finished in 80th place behind ghosts, zombies, blood and clowns.

Next Up

Related