What Americans Fear in 2017 Is Much Different than Last Year

Every year since 2014, Chapman University has asked a random sampling of about 1,200 United States residents what scares them the most for its Survey of American Fears. The 2017 survey was conducted from late June to early July.

In previous years, people were very afraid of things like the death of a loved one, money problems and identity theft. However, as you can probably imagine, what really scares Americans this year has changed a lot.

1. CORRUPT GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

The No. 1 fear remains the same as last year’s: corrupt government officials, although it has risen about 14 percentage points. Based on the people surveyed, Americans now have several new concerns making them “afraid” or “very afraid.” Here’s what these new fears are, and why we should be scared.

Photo Credit: Chapman University

Photo Credit: Chapman University

2. AMERICAN HEALTHCARE ACT/TRUMPCARE

(No. 2 in 2016: Terrorist Attack)

Over half of the people surveyed (55.3 percent) were afraid of Trumpcare. Last year, fear of Obamacare ranked at No. 10, with only 35.5 percent of those surveyed concerned about it. While Trump likes to say that Obamacare is a failure, insisting that Americans hate it and want it repealed, this survey seems to reflect the general consensus of Americans: Trumpcare would be much scarier.

3. POLLUTION OF OCEANS, RIVERS AND LAKES

(No. 3 in 2016: Not Having Enough Money for the Future)

“Environmental issues never cracked the top 10 fears in our previous surveys,” Chapman University reports. It’s pretty easy to figure out why they do now. Shortly after Trump took office, he withdrew the EPA’s “Waters of the United States” rule, enacted in 2015, that protected 20 million acres of wetlands and 2 million miles of streams from agricultural runoff under the Clean Water Act. Also gone is the Stream Protection Rule that prohibited mining companies from dumping waste in rivers and streams. The detrimental effects of the water pollution that will result from these actions is truly horrifying.

4. POLLUTION OF DRINKING WATER

(No. 4 in 2016: Terrorism)

Probably due to the Flint water nightmare, half of the people surveyed are afraid of polluted drinking water. In addition to Flint, high levels of lead have also been discovered in the drinking water of other communities around the country, with aging, crumbling pipes being a main source of the problem. While Trump has promised to spend $1 trillion to fix the country’s infrastructure, he has done little so far besides declaring an ineffective “Infrastructure Week” during June.

6. HIGH MEDICAL BILLS

(No. 6 in 2016: People I Love Dying)

Nearly half of the survey respondents were afraid of expensive medical bills. Perhaps this fear didn’t appear in the top 10 of previous lists because the term “Trumpcare” had not yet been introduced. Although attempts to repeal or replace Obamacare failed to pass in Congress, Trump just signed executive orders that would basically remove “affordable” from the ACA by ending government subsidies and increasing out-of-pocket expenses.

7. THE U.S. WILL BE INVOLVED IN ANOTHER WORLD WAR

(No. 7 in 2016: Economic/Financial Collapse)

This fear was not on the list last year, nor was the president of the United States threatening North Korea with “fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before” or taunting Kim Jong Un on Twitter by calling him “little rocket man.” It’s not just the survey participants who are spooked by the possibility that the U.S. could become involved in a war: For the first time in decades, sales of bomb shelters have skyrocketed this year.

8. GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE

(No. 8 in 2016: Identity Theft)

Trump once tweeted that the concept of climate change was created by and for the Chinese. His administration, including EPA Director Scott Pruitt, also say global warming is fake news. Trump proved his scary disregard for the future of the planet with his decision in June to pull the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement.

9. NORTH KOREA USING WEAPONS

(No. 9 in 2016: People I Love Becoming Seriously Ill)

It’s no secret that North Korea has been testing missiles, including an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that could reach the United States. According to Michael Elleman, a former United Nations missile inspector, it’s likely that North Korea’s engineers haven’t yet mastered ICBM reentry technologies and need to do more work before one of this missiles could strike the U.S. mainland. Chillingly, “an early deployment next year is possible,” Elleman told reporters.

10. AIR POLLUTION

(No. 10 in 2016: The Affordable Health Care Act/Obamacare)

With a president who promised to “end the war on coal” and an EPA director who’s an ally of the oil industry, there’s good reason to be afraid of air pollution. This month, Trump and Pruitt announced their intention to do away with Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which would have cut power plants’ carbon emissions by one third before 2030. If Trump and his administration believe actions like this are making America great again, we should all be truly terrified.

Photo Credit: SD Pictures

97 comments

Paulo R
Paulo R6 days ago

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Paulo R
Paulo R6 days ago

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Paulo R
Paulo R6 days ago

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Paulo R
Paulo R6 days ago

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Paulo R6 days ago

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Veronica Danie
Veronica D13 days ago

Thank you so very much.

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Veronica Danie
Veronica D13 days ago

Thank you so very much.

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Veronica Danie
Veronica D13 days ago

Thank you so very much.

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Louise A
Louise A13 days ago

Thanks for sharing this

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Stephanie s
Stephanie s14 days ago

One word-TRUMP. Thank you

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