BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Halloween is upon us, and in celebration, many individuals like to spend October indulging in the more frightening side of entertainment. While haunted houses and horror films are a great way to celebrate the spooky season, it’s important to remember that fear isn’t something that only applies to ghosts and ghouls — and in fact, that most human fears are both year-round and far more psychological. This means that this month is also a perfect time to learn about America’s greatest fears.
In order to determine what Americans around the country are the most terrified of, home security website Safehome conducted an online poll of over 2,500 adults living in the United States regarding how afraid they were of certain scenarios — with potential answers ranging from ‘Not Afraid’ to ‘Very Afraid’. The number of responses for each scenario was then weighted based on the 2020 U.S. Census, multiplied by their weight, and summer together, then normalized, multiplied by 100, and rounded to determine the situation’s overall ‘Fear Score’. When these overall scores were compared to one another, it was determined that the most common fears across the United States are as follows:
|Rank||Scenario||Fear Score||Percentage of Respondents Afraid or Very Afraid of Situation|
|1||Loved Ones Dying||99||68%|
|2||Loved Ones Becoming Seriously Ill||98||68%|
|3||Personally Becoming Seriously Ill||86||57%|
|4||Not Having Enough Money for Retirement||83||55%|
|5||Mass Shootings/Gun Violence||83||54%|
|6||Loss of Physical Mobility||82||54%|
|7||Corrupt Government Officials||78||52%|
|9||High Medical Bills||74||48%|
|10||The U.S. Becoming Involved in Another World War||74||46%|
While these may be the most common fears across America, they are by no means the only worries that are gripping the country. As part of the study, SafeHome collected data related to specific categories of fears — particularly those related to topics like personal health, crime, and politics.
Crime is a constant concern in both major cities and more rural areas — especially with the growing number of incidents of both physical violence and digital scams occurring around the country. This only helps to boost the overall Fear Score of many similar crimes, rendering criminal activity a frequent fear in all of its forms. Notably, the average Fear Scores for many of these crimes tend to vary depending on where the surveyed individuals live. In general, those in urban areas tend to report high levels of concern regarding criminal activity.
|Crime Fear||Fear Score||Percentage of Respondents Afraid or Very Afraid of Situation||Rural Dwellers Average Fear Score||Urban Dwellers Average Fear Score|
|Mass Shootings/Gun Violence||83||54%||76||91|
|Robbery or Burglary||60||34%||56||66|
|Being Physically Assaulted||56||33%||52||67|
|Walking Alone at Night||55||32%||51||63|
|Credit Card Fraud||53||28%||46||61|
|Being Sexually Assaulted||46||28%||57||57|
As one may expect in the tense governmental climate the country finds itself in, many Americans find themselves fearful of the fate of their government and rights. Political concerns, the study found, were some of the most common among all surveyed individuals — with ideas including corruption, civil unrest, specific candidacies, and government decisions proving to be some of the country’s most frequently feared.
|Political Fear||Fear Score||Percentage of Respondents Afraid or Very Afraid of Situation|
|Corrupt Government Officials||78||52%|
|The U.S. Becoming Involved in Another World War||74||46%|
|Trump Being Re-Elected||71||47%|
|Corporations Influencing Government||71||45%|
|Widespread Civil Unrest||66||40%|
|Restriction of Women’s Rights||61||41%|
|Increasing National Debt||60||36%|
|Government Tracking Personal Data/Spying||59||35%|
|Biden Being Re-Elected||50||31%|
|Illegal Immigration into the U.S.||36||20%|
|Transgender Rights Initiatives||23||14%|
The Horrors of Health
After the Pandemic shook the world to its core, it only stands to reason that sickness is at the forefront of many American’s fears — and naturally, health concerns were quite frequently listed as some of the most common in Safehome’s survey. Notably, while both men and women showcased their concerns regarding personal health, it was also identified that women, in general, tend to have greater fear of threats related to their own personal health.
|Personal Health Fear||Fear Score||Percentage of Respondents Afraid or Very Afraid of Situation||Percentage of Men Afraid of Situation||Percentage of Women Afraid of Situation|
|Becoming Seriously Ill||86||57%||50%||65%|
|Loss of Physical Mobility||82||54%||49%||60%|
|Another Pandemic like COVID-19||62||37%||36%||42%|
While none of them reached the top ten, it’s worth noting that concerns regarding the environment, too, made frequent appearances on the list of America’s most frequent fears, and were equally split among all genders and age groups — but were also observed to be especially common among those living in urban areas. The study notes that this could be due to the different political leanings in each territory, as Republicans (who are far more common in rural areas) tend to consider the environment a lower priority.
|Environmental Fear||Fear Score||Percentage of Respondents Afraid or Very Afraid of Situation|
|Pollution in Oceans, Rivers, and Lakes||69||43%|
|Extinction of Plants and Animals||64||40%|
|Losing Access to Clean Water||60||37%|
|Losing Home to a Natural Disaster||59||36%|
Despite how common many of these fears are across America, it is worth noting that anxiety levels have lowered between this year’s study and last year’s overall results — which means that not everything is truly as terrible as we may perceive it to be. In order to view the full study or the fear studies of previous years — including complete data regarding over 70 of America’s most common fears — visit this page on Safehome’s website.