Americans fear being involved in another world war, the threat of North Korea using weapons, and the proposed American Health Care Act or 'Trumpcare', according to a US survey. The top most fear was corruption of government officials – same top fear as 2015 and 2016.
The survey by Chapman University in the US 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.
The annual Chapman University Survey of American Fears included more than 1,207 adult participants from across the country and all walks of life. The 2017 survey data was organised into four basic categories: personal fears, natural disasters, paranormal fears, and fear of extremism. Nearly half of all Americans – 48 per cent – fear North Korea using nuclear weapons and 41 per cent fear a nuclear attack generally. The prospect of a nuclear meltdown has made 31 per cent afraid or very afraid.
Americans also feared pollution of oceans, rivers and lakes as well as drinking water. Not having enough money in the future and high medical bills were among the top ten fears plaguing Americans.
"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, professor at Chapman University, who led the research.
"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," said Bader. Most striking about American fear in 2017 is that environmental fears figure more prominently than ever before.