Corrupt leaders & water pollution: Study shows what Americans are really afraid of

It’s the spookiest time of the year, but a new study shows Americans aren’t fearful of ghosts and goblins. In fact, the grim prospect of corrupt leaders, polluted water, and no money is what’s really scaring the nation.

An annual survey of 1,190 adults has been run by Chapman University in California since 2014, but this year is the first time the majority of participants said they are afraid of all 10 scenarios in the top 10 list.

Government corruption ranks first among America’s biggest concerns, while in second and third places is the pollution of oceans, rivers, lakes, and drinking water. In at third, fourth, and fifth are not having enough money for the future, and loved ones becoming seriously ill or dying.

It is worth noting that the fears regarding corruption and the environment have increased significantly following the election of President Trump in 2016 and all top 10 fears continue to reflect topics often discussed in the media,” said Christopher Bader, professor of sociology.

Air pollution, extinction of plant and animal species, global warming and climate change, and high medical bills all round out the top 10 fears plaguing Americans.

While future financial stability will always be a fear for people, the researchers say the upturn in the economy means it features less often and gives Americans room to worry about other things, like the environment.

Meanwhile, the survey found that US citizens are less fearful of Muslim and illegal immigrants in American society in comparison to previous surveys.

Two years ago, one out of three Americans thought immigration from Muslim countries should be banned, now that’s one out of five. The majority of American are not afraid of illegal immigration. Two out of three Americans do not want a border wall,” said Ed Day, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Sociology.

Interestingly the survey, which was carried out over the summer of 2018, showed a stark divide between Republicans and Democrats and what they are afraid of: “What frightens Republicans the most doesn’t even register for Democrats, and vice versa. We see that bifurcation increasing, and that frightens me,” Bader said.


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