Learning an individual’s fears can tell you a lot about that person. Fear may be linked to unpleasant past experiences — for example, someone who was badly bitten by a vicious dog during childhood may have an ongoing fear of these animals. It can also be related to the potential for physical harm — someone who is deathly allergic to bee stings probably won’t be comfortable harvesting honey from a beehive. Other times, fears are seemingly irrational, but still shed light on an individual’s psyche.

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48% of those surveyed feared the risk of North Korea using its weapons.

If you study those individual fear data points and combine them, you can paint a larger picture of America’s top fears. That’s just what Chapman University has done each year since 2014. The university’s findings are recorded and published in annual blog posts, along with bar graphs that represent the top 10 sources of fear among those surveyed.

Environmental pollution was a source of 3 of the top 10 fears.

Environmental pollution was a source of 4 of the top 10 fears.

To generate this list of top fears, a random sample of 1,207 adults from across the United States was surveyed and asked to report their level of fear about 80 different topics. These 10 topics were marked as “afraid” or “very afraid” by the following percentages of those surveyed:

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For comparison purposes, here are the results of the annual surveys from 2016 and 2015:

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Top fears of 2017 America psychology survival mindset disaster prep 3

For a more detailed breakdown of the fears from each survey, check the links below:

There are several interesting trends visible here. First, the fear of government corruption has taken the first-place position for three consecutive years, and grown each year. Nearly three quarters of those surveyed said they were “afraid” or “very afraid” of this in 2017. As this number continues to rise, so might the risk of civil unrest or all-out revolution.

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Terrorist attacks, which ranked 4th in 2015 and 2nd in 2016, didn’t even make the top 10 for 2017 — it ended up ranked number 22 of 80. The categories of crime, illness and death, and technology are also no longer present among the top fears, but personal financial woes continue to be a major concern.

In case you’re curious, the five least fear-inducing topics were ranked as follows:

  • Animals (dogs, rats, etc.)
  • Ghosts
  • Zombies
  • Blood
  • Clowns

In order to survive any disaster, we must prepare for sources of real danger but also learn to accept our fears.

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