The Chapman University Survey of American Fears, Wave 2 (2015) provides an unprecedented look into the fears of average Americans. In April of 2015, a random sample of 1,541 adults from across the United States were asked their level of fear about eighty-eight different fears across a huge variety of topics ranging from crime, the government, disasters, personal anxieties, technology and many others.

Domains of Fear

DomainsOfFear

There were 10 major “domains” of fear addressed by the survey, including:

Fear Domain Types of Questions Included
Crime Murder, rape, theft, burglary, fraud, identity theft
Daily Life Romantic rejection, ridicule, talking to strangers
Environment Global warming, overpopulation, pollution
Government Government corruption, Obamacare, drones, gun control, immigration issues
Judgment of others Appearance, weight, age, race
Man-Made Disasters Bio-warfare, terrorism, nuclear attacks
Natural Disasters Earthquakes, droughts, floods, hurricanes
Personal Anxieties Tight spaces, public speaking, clowns, vaccines
Personal Future Dying, illness, running out of money, unemployment
Technology Artificial intelligence, robots, cyber-terrorism

Top Fear Domains, 2015

Each fear question asks Americans to rate their level of fear on a scale ranging from 1 (not afraid) to 4 (very afraid). The average score for each domain of fear provides insight into what types of fear are of greatest concern to Americans in 2015.

On average, Americans expressed the highest levels of fear about man-made disasters, such as terrorist attacks, followed by fears about technology, including corporate and government tracing of personal data and fears about the government (such as government corruption and ObamaCare). The complete, ranked list of Domains of Fear follows:

Domain of Fear Average Fear Score (out of 4)
Man-Made Disasters 2.15
Technology 2.07
Government 2.06
Environment 1.97
Personal Future 1.95
Natural Disasters 1.95
Crime 1.72
Personal Anxieties 1.63
Daily Life 1.51
Judgment of Others 1.31

 

Top 10 Fears of 2015

Top10Fears
Below is a list of the 10 fears for which the highest percentage of Americans reported being “Afraid,” or “Very Afraid.”

Fear Fear Domain Afraid or Very Afraid
Corruption of Government Officials Government 58.0%
Cyber-terrorism Technology 44.8%
Corporate Tracking of Personal Information Technology 44.6%
Terrorist Attacks Man-Made Disasters 44.4%
Government Tracking of Personal Information Technology 41.4%
Bio-Warfare Man-Made Disasters 40.9%
Identity Theft Crime 39.6%
Economic Collapse Man-Made Disasters 39.2%
Running of out Money in the Future Personal Future 37.4%
Credit Card Fraud Crime 36.9%

The Complete List of Fears, 2015

The following is a complete, list of all of the fears addressed by the Chapman Survey of American Fears, Wave 2 (2015), including the percent of Americans who reported being afraid or very afraid. 

Sorted by Percent Afraid/Very Afraid

Fear Fear Domain % Afraid or Very Afraid
Corruption Government 58.0
Cyber-terrorism Technology 44.8
Corporate Tracking of Personal Data Technology 44.6
Terrorist Attack Man-made Disasters 44.4
Government Tracking of Personal Data Technology 41.4
Bio-warfare Man-made Disasters 40.9
Identity Theft Crime 39.6
Economic Collapse Man-made Disasters 39.2
Running out of Money Personal Future 37.4
Credit Card Fraud Crime 36.9
Gun Control Government 36.5
War Man-made Disasters 35.8
Obamacare Government 35.7
Illness Personal Future 34.4
Pandemic Natural Disasters 34.3
Nuclear Attack Man-made Disasters 33.6
Reptiles Personal Anxieties 33.0
Meltdown Man-made Disasters 32.3
Civil Unrest Man-made Disasters 32.0
Tornado Natural Disasters 31.4
Global Warming Environment 30.7
Grid attack Man-made Disasters 29.8
Illegal Immigration Government 29.7
Drought Natural Disasters 29.4
Robots Replacing Workforce Technology 28.9
Public Speaking Personal Anxieties 28.4
Property Damage Natural Disasters 27.7
Heights Personal Anxieties 27.4
Pollution of rivers and streams Environment 26.9
Earthquake Natural Disasters 26.7
Drunk Driver Crime 26.5
Flood Natural Disasters 26.5
Hurricane Natural Disasters 26.4
Trusting Artificial Intelligence to do work Technology 25.8
Insects Personal Anxieties 25.5
Blizzard Natural Disasters 25.0
Overpopulation Environment 24.0
Robots Technology 23.9
Unemployment Personal Future 23.8
Artificial Intelligence Technology 22.2
Break ins Crime 22.2
Loneliness Personal Future 22.0
Dying Personal Future 21.9
Theft Crime 21.6
Water Personal Anxieties 21.0
Drones Government 20.4
Claustrophobia Personal Anxieties 19.9
Volcano Natural Disasters 19.7
Aging Personal Future 19.6
Ponzi Schemes and other financial crimes Crime 19.0
Technology I don’t understand Technology 19.0
Needles Personal Anxieties 18.5
Whites no longer majority Government 18.2
Dying Daily Life 16.8
Germs Personal Anxieties 16.5
Mass Shooting Crime 16.4
Walking Along at Night Daily Life 16.4
Murder by a stranger Crime 16.0
Mugging Crime 15.8
Police Brutality Crime 15.4
Flying Personal Anxieties 15.2
Rape by a stranger Crime 14.5
Gangs Crime 14.1
Whooping Cough Personal Anxieties 13.5
Kidnapping Crime 13.0
Mammals (Dogs, rats or other animals) Personal Anxieties 12.9
Measles Personal Anxieties 12.7
Stalking Crime 12.7
Dismissed by Others Daily Life 12.5
Blood Personal Anxieties 12.2
Hate Crime Crime 12.2
Weight Judgment of Others 11.4
Rape by someone you know Crime 11.3
Murder by someone you know Crime 10.9
Ridicule Daily Life 10.6
Romantic Rejection Daily Life 10.4
Expressing Opinion Daily Life 9.7
Ghosts Personal Anxieties 9.7
Talking to Stranger Daily Life 9.7
Gossip Daily Life 9.6
Dark Personal Anxieties 9.3
Appearance Judgment of Others 8.7
Zombies Personal Anxieties 8.5
Vaccines Personal Anxieties 8.4
Clowns Personal Anxieties 6.8
Age Judgment of Others 5.9
Race Judgment of Others 5.6
Gender Judgment of Others 4.5
Dress Judgment of Others 4.2

Sorted Alphabetically 

Fear Fear Domain % Afraid or Very Afraid
Age Judgment of Others 5.9
Aging Personal Future 19.6
Appearance Judgment of Others 8.7
Artificial Intelligence Technology 22.2
Bio-warfare Man-made Disasters 40.9
Blizzard Natural Disasters 25.0
Blood Personal Anxieties 12.2
Break ins Crime 22.2
Civil Unrest Man-made Disasters 32.0
Claustrophobia Personal Anxieties 19.9
Clowns Personal Anxieties 6.8
Corporate Tracking of Personal Data Technology 44.6
Corruption Government 58.0
Credit Card Fraud Crime 36.9
Cyber-terrorism Technology 44.8
Dark Personal Anxieties 9.3
Dismissed by Others Daily Life 12.5
Dress Judgment of Others 4.2
Drones Government 20.4
Drought Natural Disasters 29.4
Drunk Driver Crime 26.5
Dying Personal Future 21.9
Dying Daily Life 16.8
Earthquake Natural Disasters 26.7
Economic Collapse Man-made Disasters 39.2
Expressing Opinion Daily Life 9.7
Flood Natural Disasters 26.5
Flying Personal Anxieties 15.2
Gangs Crime 14.1
Gender Judgment of Others 4.5
Germs Personal Anxieties 16.5
Ghosts Personal Anxieties 9.7
Global Warming Environment 30.7
Gossip Daily Life 9.6
Government Tracking of Personal Data Technology 41.4
Grid attack Man-made Disasters 29.8
Gun Control Government 36.5
Hate Crime Crime 12.2
Heights Personal Anxieties 27.4
Hurricane Natural Disasters 26.4
Identity Theft Crime 39.6
Illegal Immigration Government 29.7
Illness Personal Future 34.4
Insects Personal Anxieties 25.5
Kidnapping Crime 13.0
Loneliness Personal Future 22.0
Mammals (Dogs, rats or other animals) Personal Anxieties 12.9
Mass Shooting Crime 16.4
Measles Personal Anxieties 12.7
Meltdown Man-made Disasters 32.3
Mugging Crime 15.8
Murder by a stranger Crime 16.0
Murder by someone you know Crime 10.9
Needles Personal Anxieties 18.5
Nuclear Attack Man-made Disasters 33.6
Obamacare Government 35.7
Overpopulation Environment 24.0
Pandemic Natural Disasters 34.3
Police Brutality Crime 15.4
Pollution of rivers and streams Environment 26.9
Ponzi Schemes and other financial crimes Crime 19.0
Property Damage Natural Disasters 27.7
Public Speaking Personal Anxieties 28.4
Race Judgment of Others 5.6
Rape by a stranger Crime 14.5
Rape by someone you know Crime 11.3
Reptiles Personal Anxieties 33.0
Ridicule Daily Life 10.6
Robots Technology 23.9
Robots Replacing Workforce Technology 28.9
Romantic Rejection Daily Life 10.4
Running out of Money Personal Future 37.4
Stalking Crime 12.7
Talking to Stranger Daily Life 9.7
Technology I don’t understand Technology 19.0
Terrorist Attack Man-made Disasters 44.4
Theft Crime 21.6
Tornado Natural Disasters 31.4
Trusting Artificial Intelligence to do work Technology 25.8
Unemployment Personal Future 23.8
Vaccines Personal Anxieties 8.4
Volcano Natural Disasters 19.7
Walking Along at Night Daily Life 16.4
War Man-made Disasters 35.8
Water Personal Anxieties 21.0
Weight Judgment of Others 11.4
Whites no longer majority Government 18.2
Whooping Cough Personal Anxieties 13.5
Zombies Personal Anxieties 8.5