What Americans fear the most


man hiding behind a tableWe’re in the spooky season, so it’s a perfect time to deal with the stuff that scares us. And just in time, we have a survey about America’s Top Fears, 2015 style.

In its second year of surveys on the topic of fears, Chapman University researchers conducted a random sampling of more than 1,500 U.S. adults last spring and have recently published the results. Participants were asked what frightened them on a variety of topics ranging from crime, the government, disasters, personal anxieties, technology and many others. The research team leading this effort pared the information down into four basic categories: personal fears, natural disasters, paranormal fears and drivers of fear behavior.

You can read about all the fears and see infographics. We’ve included a list of the 10 fears with the highest percentage of Americans who reported being “Afraid,” or “Very Afraid.”

  • Corruption of Government Officials – 58.0%
  • Cyber-terrorism – 44.8%
  • Corporate Tracking of Personal Information – 44.6%
  • Terrorist Attacks – 44.4%
  • Government Tracking of Personal Information – 41.4%
  • Bio-Warfare – 40.9%
  • Identity Theft – 39.6%
  • Economic Collapse – 39.2%
  • Running of out Money in the Future – 37.4%
  • Credit Card Fraud – 36.9%

Now as you read the above list and the much more extensive list in the link, contrast it with this: the 10 leading causes of death in the U.S.

  • Heart disease: 611,105
  • Cancer: 584,881
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 149,205
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 130,557
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,978
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 84,767
  • Diabetes: 75,578
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 56,979
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 47,112
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 41,149

Some of our fears are real and some are outsized based on the actual odds. Auto accidents weren’t on the list, but they caused more than 30,000 deaths last year. The insurance business is about risk and odds. Our fears are often out of step with reality – what we fear the most is frequently less risky than other common every day occurrences. See our post about What’s actually dangerous

Some other related posts that may be interesting include:
Life expectancy and your chances of reaching 100

What are the odds? Mortality calculators

Hedge your bets: Talk to your local agent about Life Insurance!

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