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America’s Top Fears in 2017

Pollution, politicians, and Pyongyang all made the list this year.

Essentially, we fear the end of the world.
Essentially, we fear the end of the world. HypnoArt/Creative Commons CC0

It’s almost Halloween, which means it’s time again for Chapman University’s Survey of American Fears, a report that attempts to catalog America’s greatest fears of the year. And once again, the results are a collection of relatable subjects of dread.

For this, their fourth annual survey of fears, the researchers surveyed 1,207 random U.S. adults back in May, to find out what scared them the most these days. The top ten fears of 2017, featured in the chart below, include corrupt politicians in the number one spot, with other modern concerns including global warming, the possibility of a North Korean attack, and rising medical costs also earning a large number of “Afraid” and “Very Afraid” responses.

Chapman University's Top Ten Fears.
Chapman University’s Top Ten Fears. Courtesy of Chapman University

This year’s responses are not incredibly different from 2016’s, which also placed corrupt government officials in the top spot. But it isn’t all things you might be afraid to discuss with your family at Thanksgiving. A number of more ephemeral threats also made the 2017 list further down, with clowns, blood, zombies, and ghosts taking 76th, 77th, 78th, and 79th, respectively. Perhaps most frighteningly, “Whites no longer being the majority in the U.S.” came in as the 69th most popular fear this year.

We’ll have to wait until 2018 for the next fear survey, but until then the top 10 existential threats we have now should keep us more than occupied.