Survey Reveals What Really Scares Americans: #1 on the List May Surprise You

by | Oct 22, 2018 | Headline News | 58 comments

Every year, Chapman University conducts a Survey of American Fears. The annual survey provides an in-depth examination into the concerns of average Americans, tracking changes and trends over the years.

The survey asks participants about topics including government, health, environmental concerns, disaster preparedness, the paranormal, and personal anxieties.

What’s the number one thing Americans fear?

For the fourth year in a row, that dishonor goes to government corruption. That fear far exceeds any other that was asked about in the survey. In 2018, 73.6% said they fear corrupt government officials. In 2017, it was 74.5%, and in 2016, 60.6%.


Image credit: Chapman University

“It is worth noting that the fears regarding corruption and the environment have increased significantly following the election of President Trump in 2016 and all top 10 fears continue to reflect topics often discussed in the media,” said Christopher Bader, Ph.D., professor of sociology.

Pollution of oceans, rivers, and lakes, polluted drinking water, money worries, and loss of loved ones also are of high concern.

Here are some of the other fears Americans have:

  • Cyber-terrorism: 52.5%
  • The US being involved in another world war: 51.6%
  • Islamic extremists: 49.3%
  • White supremacists: 49.3%
  • Economic/financial collapse: 49.2%
  • Identify theft: 46.6%
  • Corporate tracking of personal data: 46.3%
  • Government tracking of personal data: 46%
  • Widespread civil unrest: 43%
  • Nuclear weapons attack: 42.9%
  • Random mass shooting: 41.5%
  • The collapse of the electrical grid: 39%
  • Pandemic or major epidemic: 38.6%
  • Government restrictions on firearms and ammunition: 37.8%
  • Nuclear accident/meltdown: 36%

For the full list, click here.

The survey also explored the reasons people do not evacuate when a disaster is heading their way. The most commonly cited reason by 43% of Americans is that they want to protect their homes from looting. “Tragic overconfidence” and “Pets” followed with 34% each. You can read the full report here: Fleeing Death: Disaster Evacuations in America.

As for political division, the survey revealed something that concerns the researchers: “What frightens Republicans the most doesn’t even register for Democrats, and vice versa. We see that bifurcation increasing, and that frightens me,” Bader said.

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    1. Kevin2

      In the local newspaper here in SW Florida a survey was reported. The question was what is your main worry. The number one concern was the loss of air-conditioning. Terrorism or mass shootings were down on the last.

      • Stuart

        Now there’s some folks who truly have their priorities in order.

        • Panther

          My #1 fear is something bad happening to my kids. Air conditioning is overrated. I drinks gallons of water a week and the heat doesn’t bother me. I might sweat a lot but I don’t get exhaustingly hot. As for the rest, I really don’t care. Whatever happens, happens. I’ll deal with it when the time comes. I love my new pickup truck

          • Kevin2

            AC is really important to the aged population here in summer. The greatest number of dead from Irma was the loss of AC at an old persons home. Winter is generally 65-80 day and 50s night; quite comfortable.

            • TharSheBlows

              The fear of White supremacy? LOL Yeah right. White Supremacy is the ONLY thing holding this Country together. Ever look at a housing project that is destroyed within about 2-3 years when the darkies are in charge.

              BTW/ Freezing your credit only last for 90 days, then you have to go back in and reapply to set up another 90 day freeze.

              • Mark

                White Supremacy is the reason we aren’t still living at 19th century levels. The hoards hate us but notice they are always up our butts because near us is where civilization and prosperity is.

      • laura ann

        worst: Cyber attack on the power grid, as air cond. is out in some areas now but cooler weather moved in this morning. After the hurricane in the gulf area, misery in the heat cleaning up (incl. our city inland 90 mi.) with trees down, fences damaged, with heat and humidity misery. I used to be concerned about ID theft, but we froze our credit in all 4 agencies after the Equifax breech, so we can sleep at night. Also we use cash dining out, gas cards for Marathon gas. Only one cr. card from Cr union for emergencies. Muslim terrorism rates high on my list.

      • Anonymous

        loss of air conditioniong– in florida… ha, ha, ha!! 😉

        • Menzoberranzan

          I’m afraid of seeing bitchclinton’s face while I’m trying to eat.

          • The Deplorable Renegade

            Menzo, if I saw her face trying to eat I’d lose my appetite.

            • buttcrackofdoom

              i don’t know about y’all, but i have had the life scared out of me 5 times in my life. how?……I’m PREGNANT…those words scare the HELL out of ME, and I’m FEARLESS!

        • Genius

          They should just build underground where it’s nice and cool! Oh wait…. it’s a swamp lol.

        • laura ann

          Anon: not funny even in other gulf states w/o power when it is hot, has cooled down some, some will be w/o power way into Nov. and beyond. Power poles and other electrical materials backlogged to re-install.

      • Son of patriot

        Mine is being attacked by screaming snowflakes, soyboys, harpies and antifas, while I’m wearing a MAGA hat. In the scenario, fear grips me, until I realize i’m packing a Taurus Raging Bull, then all of my fears melt away.

        • The Deplorable Renegade

          SOP, mine is being attacked by antifas and Black CRIMINAL Lives Matter, illegal aliens, muslim terrorists, etc. But when I realize I’ve got my Taurus PT 111 and Mossberg 590A1 then the fears melt like hot butter.

      • repr sleepr

        I was kind of leaning towards loss of cell phones for a guess.

      • marlene

        Fearing tyranny is what keeps Americans healthy. It’s a healthy fear. And it’s why the they’ll never take our guns. History repeats itself and Americans are awake enough to know the traitors in our country are trying to enslave us into their one world government. VOTE FOR A REPUBLICAN CONGRESS – we can deal with the RINOS later.

        Second is pedophilia and third is immigration – illegal AND legal.

    2. Stuart

      My No.1 fear?
      Nosy people calling me on the phone and asking me a bunch of questions about s*it that’s none of their business.
      Just call me paranoid ’cause I can’t figure out how to up-load a gunshot wound to them.

      • laura ann

        Stuart: don’t answer the damn phone, let it go to voice mail. Calls will slow then stop. In fact I don’t take any calls during the day unless it’s for service people coming to fix something and call back to set up a time. No time for chit chat anyway.

        • Stuart

          Sounds like good advice.

          • The Deplorable Renegade

            Stuart, Laura Ann is right. You DON”T have to answer the phone if the number on your caller ID is one you don’t recognize or if something like UNKNOWN NAME from anywhere in the country or even in your area is calling. You can also block out those numbers. The calls will slow down if not stop altogether. I get those same bogus calls every week. Nothing but scammers and you don’t have to talk to them at all. it’s YOUR phone and YOU pay the bill so it’s YOUR decision to make. Being paranoid is on occasion a good thing when you’re looking out for your own interests.

      • Genius

        #1. Government in all it’s forms
        #2. Nuclear contamination in all it’s forms
        #3. Stupid people and their stupid actions
        #4. Overpopulation and resource wars/depletion
        #5. Pollution of everything including chemtrails

        That’s the main strain on the brain….

        • The Deplorable Renegade

          Genius, you been peeking at MY list? [JUST KIDDING] Those are legitimate fears.

    3. rellik

      The biggest threat to my health, safety and welfare is the government. The Federal, state, and local governments are all bad here in Hawaii. I don’t know that they are corrupt, but they certainly are tyrants.

      • The Deplorable Renegade

        Rellik, government is what I consider to be PUBLIC ENEMY NO. 1. No. 2 would be libturds. Everything else is further down the list. I noticed the term ‘white supremacists’ on the list in the article. Sounds like someone needs to go find a country that works for them.

      • laura ann

        Dane: Avoid stupid people: we read, have net flix and Hulu, and are social recluses, not involved in community or anything else. Retirees are also stupid and few tuned in. Ask them about agenda 21 or third world Soro’s funding invasions into first world countries, and they give you a dumb look. Most are kow towing to 501c3 gov. controlled churches, after you tell them they are multicultural and gov. controlled.

        • Elaine

          Gee. May you never retire.

          • laura ann

            Elain: we are retired, since 2004, but only interact with like minded, who are tuned in. No time for morons.

        • The Deplorable Renegade

          Laura Ann, I’m also a social recluse but I do without the Netflix and hulu. Except when I’m at the BOL, I feel surrounded by stupidity all the time.

    4. Wojo

      Two concerns: Our federal/state governments over reaching and demanding more of our money in taxes, and not being held accountable. Which leads to taxation without representation. Second is an EMP. Personally I would take the EMP over the first cause after that the government is non-existent.

    5. out_of_time

      #1 Fear? Easy one:
      I’m right…
      We’re about to experience the fall of the US – economic and societal collapse. The trigger? Who knows, and does it matter? Are you ready? I think I am, so… I’m probably not.

      Good luck.

      • Anonymous

        Exactly, out_of_time! And I am sooo slow!!! NOT READY!! 🙁

    6. Nicus

      Any survey used to effect policy is subject to manipulation. Half the population is afraid of white supremacists… Really? You’d think there was a klan rally on every street corner.

      If you squint your eyes and round the numbers a bit it looks like roughly half the people are afraid of EVERYTHING!

      • Yahooie

        That’s what first caught my eye, too.

    7. BuelahMan

      White Supremacy causes people to freak when it is obvious that black violence dwarfs anything any white person could ever muster.

      Either this is BS or America is full of S

      • Kevin2


        At the street level that statement is correct, black violence is multiple times greater Than white. The market crashes to a great degree over grossly unethical (formerly felony illegal) activity and whites who disproportionately lost the greatest amount (guess its that saving / investing part of “white privilege”) did not riot. Now at the governmental/financial/business (call it the nexus GFB) end, dominated by whites, one can say that the crimes committed under color of legality (and illegality), the worst being war, are so much greater that words cannot describe. Blacks haven’t murdered on the scale of whites not because of empathy for their fellow man (including their own race) nor ethics but rather the lack of opportunity to carry it out.

        I don’t distrust the person that would steal a million; I distrust the person that would steal $5.

        • awed bawl

          most white collar crimes are not committed by Whites


      • Anonymous

        America is full of sh—

      • The Deplorable Renegade

        BeulahMan, I’m sure you know that ‘white supremacy’, ‘white privelege’, ‘white guilt’, etc. are all part of the illegitimate campaign the apes and other minorities are waging against our people. Although blacks are only 13% of the total population they are responsible for the majority of crime in the US, especially in the urban areas. The FBI and DOJ crime statistics tell a very interesting story. No one owes any of the minorities, especially the apes, a damn thing. They don’t have the numbers to win so they need to be careful what they wish for. It will backfire on them.

    8. Bill McGill

      my biggest fear is surveys that serve no purpose other than to expand your government profile.
      FEAR THIS …../´¯/)
      ……..(‘(…´…´…. ¯~/’…’)
      ……….”…\………. _.·´

    9. repr sleepr

      My hope is those coming up through Mexico to our border will all drown now that Willa just reached hurricane strength.

    10. Anonymous

      EASY… Economic collapse!!! Stock market crash. 🙁

      • Genius

        Ehhh that would only be #1 if you were stupid enough to have your currency in the market and weren’t prepped. Let me dig up one of my poems for ya!…

        Trader Bob bought some stocks
        Stashed in a safe with many locks
        “I’ll be rich” he’d always say
        Against all odds he’d make his play
        I’ll retire and live the dream
        The market seemed to go full steam
        Then one day it all went down
        And his portfolio ate the ground
        His worthless papers were no good
        He never listened like he should
        Now a broke and homeless man
        The victim of a foolish plan
        He sat and cried “it’s all so cruel”
        A broken, sad and desperate fool…..

        Yer welcome 🙂

        • The Deplorable Renegade

          genius, sounds like a classic and it’s oh so true for anyone with money in the stock market {WALL ST. CASINOS}

        • B from CA


          Excellent post, I mean excellent poem.


        • buttcrackofdoom

          genius! effen GENIUS!

    11. tazweiss

      I noticed where they said that fear of government corruption has increased since Trump came into office. Anyone care to speculate which libtard universities responded with the most feedback.

    12. Beaumont

      If you want people to have a political awakening, teach them how to catch that proverbial fish, and eat for a lifetime. Teach them how to find potable water, and where to dispose of their bodily waste, in a dignified, hygienic way. Make just one, useful thing, well — just one thing — and tell me you’re under the leadership of competent, mental adults. Compare the food you feed yourself, to the food they feed you, and tell me which side is a wild person.

      • buttcrackofdoom

        give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day….give a man fishnet stockings, and he will ALWAYS find someone to feed him…..

    13. southside

      My biggest fears are; corrupt government,illegals invading our borders,social breakdown,and running out of coffee

    14. Yahooie

      Here’s the methodology went. ht tps://

      Interesting that the participants tended to be well educated. Seems that those with less education tended to not respond to the survey.

      In the link to the original article, there is a chart comparing 2018, 2017 and 2016. In the top 10, the fear of the ACA (ObamaCare) was replaced this year by the fear over high medical bills. Looks like people have had their fill of the Un-Affordable Health Care Act.

    15. The Deplorable Renegade

      Yahooie, the individual mandate for ACA expires at the first of 2019. That’s supposed to be the final nail in the coffin for Obamacare. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with health care and health insurance afterwards.

    16. Hard rock

      When I saw 49.3 % worried about white supremacy, that done it for me! I’m afraid that if people don’t open their eyes, and look at what is happening to this nation, and start worrying about really problems, and stop worrying about the bull—- from the media ? They have just about brainwashed all of the youth? Read the 10 quotes of Lenin and look at what’s happened today. It is scary!!! God bless the USA, and God bless you”ll

    17. the Lone Ranger

      MY #1 fear?

      I’m on my way to work and then suddenly discover myself on the grassy knoll in Dallas, Texas on 11/22/63 and in the next microsecond I realize it’s neither a fantasy NOR a dream but the result of either some human or divine intervention

      and in the NEXT microsecond I see the President’s limousine turning the corner onto Elm and I ALSO see the UMBRELLA man

      and knowing this is neither a dream NOR a fantasy but REAL, I realize I have a CHANCE to CHANGE what happened that day

      so I start running the FASTEST I can wondering if I can reach the limo in time before any shots commence, let alone the final head shot

      and as I’m running I can’t decide whether to tackle the umbrella man whose raised umbrella ‘tells’ the gunMEN to shoot


      to run directly toward the President to take a GIANT leap to THRUST my body onto him to stop ALL the consequent evil the men who killed him foisted on our country

      at the same time not knowing if I would fail or succeed and get past his ‘protective’ detail who had received an order to keep more than the usual distance from him

      and also not knowing, whether I succeeded or not, HOW would I EVER explain who I was

      and how I got there

      and how I “knew” what was to happen

      and what would happen to me as I’m being interrogated

      and how could I EVER prove what I know about the “future” I tell them I “know” about.

      That’s what I fear.

      Because in my estimation, 90% of ALL the evil we are facing is because President Kennedy’s death UNLEASHED such UNTOLD forces of darkness, too many to list here, that have culminated in not only our fractured world but the fractured existence of each of us on this planet.

      Not that Mr. Kennedy was some Saint or Prophet, but his Presidency was a threat to so many dark forces.

      – the Lone Ranger

    18. Redlist Renegade

      Wow ! I would have thought that Hitlery Clinton and Hitlery after death would have been right at the Top of the list !!!

    19. Omega Shock

      It’s good that people have figured out that corruption is something to fear. Unfortunately, it’s a little late.

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