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The top fears of 2020-21 according to a Chapman University survey – Daily News

With Halloween days away, we thought we’d take a look at Chapman University’s Survey of American Fears. The latest edition of the study, conducted in January, shows that nine of the top 10 fears are held by more than half of the population.

The survey:

The goal of the Chapman University Survey of American Fears is to collect annual data on the fears, worries and concerns of Americans and how those fears are associated with other attitudes and behaviors. In January, a random sample of 1,035 adults across the U.S. was asked about 95 different fears, including topics about the environment, government, natural disasters, COVID-19 and more. The margin of error is +/- 3.9%.

2020-21 Top 10

Below is a list of the Top 10 fears for which the highest percentage of Americans reported being “Afraid” or “Very Afraid.”


You can see the whole list here.

Most familiar fear

For the sixth consecutive year, the top fear remains corrupt government officials. As in the previous years, this fear continues to exceed the others that were asked about, with the next highest level of fear being over 20 points lower at 58.5%.

The 2020-21 list of fears reflects the worries and concerns that Americans have experienced over the past year during the coronavirus pandemic. Aligning with the major events of 2020, fear of a pandemic/major epidemic rose from its 31 in 2019 to a sixth-place spot in 2020.

Fear of economic/financial collapse and biological warfare, both prominent concerns throughout the year, rose to the top 10 list for the first time as well.

Civil Unrest

Potentially due to the general increase in protests and demonstrations throughout the past year, as well as the attacks on the Capitol that occurred during the time of the survey, fear of widespread civil unrest rose to the fifth-place spot. This is a substantial increase from its 20th-place spot in 2019, with 47.8% of people indicating being very afraid or afraid. Now, this percentage has increased almost 10 points with 56.5% of Americans indicating being very afraid or afraid of widespread civil unrest.

Read more: Chapman University professors have a book available, published by NYU Press, titled “Fear Itself, The Causes and Consequences of Fear in America,” By Christopher D. Bader, Joseph O. Baker, L. Edward Day and Ann Gordon

Fears for years

Below is a list of the Top 10 fears for which the highest percentage of Americans reported being “Afraid” or “Very Afraid.”

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