New Survey Reveals America's Top Fears | NBC Bay Area
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

New Survey Reveals America's Top Fears

The third annual survey by Chapman University in Orange, California, asked more than 1,500 adults nationwide about their level of fears

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    The top fear hasn't changed since 2015, but there was an overall shift in other top fears.

    In the midst of an intense presidential election season, a new survey reveals what Americans fear the most in 2016: corrupt government officials. 

    The third annual survey by Chapman University in Orange, California, asked more than 1,500 adults nationwide about their level of fears in 11 major "domains" of fear, including crime, the government and disasters. 

    "We have noticed that top fears tend to reflect to key factors: uncertainty and lack of control," Christopher Bader, a professor of sociology at Chapman University who lead the survey, told NBC in a statement. "People tend to fear things the most that have the potential to significantly upend their lives and those fears are even greater if they perceive having little control over that phenomenon." 

    The ten major fear “domains” used in the survey in April 2016 were: crime, economics, environment, government, illness and death, immigration, man-made disasters, natural disasters, personal fears, relationships and technology.

    The top fear hasn't changed since 2015, but there was an overall shift in other top fears, according to Bader. In 2016, the second greatest fear was a terrorist attack, and the third was financial instability in the future.

    In 2015 the second greatest fear was cyber-terrorism, followed by corporate tracking of personal data.

    Of the 1,511 people surveyed in 2016, approximately 60.6 percent reported fear of corrupt government officials. Last year, of 1,541 surveyed adults, 58 percent reported this fear. 

    The fears this year reflect more concerns with health and finance than last year’s data collection. 

    Visitors to Wildlife Preserve Catch Glimpse of Massive Gator

    [NATL] Visitors to Wildlife Preserve Catch Glimpse of Massive Gator
    A massive alligator was recorded on video Sunday at a wildlife preserve in Polk County, Florida. Almost prehistoric in appearance, the gator is known well by people who frequent the preserve, but the social media explosion brought out plenty of new viewers on Monday. "It's awesome," exclaimed Jackson McMillan. That is until he was asked if he wanted to get any closer, to which he replied, "I'm fine." (Published Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017)

    "We began this study in 2014 in the hopes of developing a greater understanding of the role of fear in American life over time," Bader said. "What is lacking is an ongoing, systematic, scientific study of American fears and what predicts those fears and the outcomes of those fears." 

    The Top 10 Fears of Americans in 2016:

    Corrupt government officials 

    Terrorist attack

    Crowd Sings 'We Shall Overcome' at MLK Memorial

    [NATL-DC] Crowd Sings 'We Shall Overcome' at MLK Memorial
    Thousands of people across the country paid homage Monday to Martin Luther King Jr. At a wreath-laying ceremony at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the crowd sang "We Shall Overcome" after walking the wreath to an area in front of the statue. (Published Monday, Jan. 16, 2017)

    Not having enough money for the future 

    Terrorism 

    Government restrictions on firearms and ammunition 

    People I love dying 

    Thieves Steal Oversized Teddy Bears From Flower Shop

    [NATL] Thieves Steal Oversized Teddy Bears From Flower Shop
    Police in Marietta, Oklahoma are looking for two thieves who carried out an unusual heist. The pair stole nine life-sized stuffed animals after smashing into a flower shop. Surveillance video shows a suspect in a black hoodie hammering out windows and stealing several large stuffed animals. (Published Friday, Jan. 13, 2017)

    Economic/financial collapse 

    Identity theft 

    People I love becoming seriously ill 

    The Affordable Care Act/Obamacare

    Dashcam Video Catches Man Shooting at Deputy

    [NATL] Dashcam Video Catches Man Shooting at Deputy
    Dashcam video released Thursday shows a gunfight between a 28-year-old Lagrange, Georgia, man and a Troup County deputy. Deputy Michael Hockett arrived at Matthew Edmondson's home on a wellness check at the request of his father, who was concerned about his well-being. When the deputy arrived, he scaled a fence to go around the house. Edmondson later opened the gate and pulled into the yard before getting out of the truck, and firing a large caliber handgun at the patrol car. Edmondson faces multiple charges, including attempted murder, aggravated assault on a peace officer with a deadly weapon, and others. (Published Friday, Jan. 13, 2017)