There are many things to be frightened of in today’s world, especially in the wake of this weekend’s false alarm about an inbound ballistic missile threat in Hawaii, but did you ever wonder what Americans are really scared of?
If you’re thinking the answer might include recent headline-making topics like nuclear war, sexual harassment or inequality, you’re wrong — and you may be surprised by the results of a new study that breaks down American’s fears by state from Your Local Security.
“We want to be a resource and provide information that will make people think about their safety and security,” Scott Bay, editor/content strategist for Your Local Security, told Metro. “We want the world to be a safer place and for issues related to security to be a big part of our conversations as a nation.”
To gather its data, Your Local Security looked at the top searched public, workplace, school, home and driving safety concerns, and then used Google search trend data to organize and rank by state.
The fears range from the federal government (ironically the top concern in Washington, D.C.) and natural disasters (Idaho) to air pollution (Oregon) and illegal immigration (Arizona, Connecticut and Rhode Island).
Not surprisingly, given that there were two within the span of 41 days in the back half of 2017, the top concern in New York is terrorist attacks.
In Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, the biggest fear is whether or not the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles will face each other in Super LII. Just kidding! The top fears in those states are car accidents and unemployment, respectively.
“The most surprising fear that made the list to me was forklifts, and what was even more surprising is how many states had a high search result for that safety concern,” Bay said of the fear that was No. 1 in Nebraska.
Gun violence made an appearance in just one state, Illinois, whose biggest city, Chicago, had 2,785 shooting incidents last year, CNN reported — and 89 shooting victims already this year, according to the Chicago Tribune’s tracker.
Metro couldn't help but ask what's been keeping Bay up at night.
“For me, the most concerning issue right now is natural disasters and climate change,” he said.
What do Metro readers fear the most?
According to Your Local Security’s study, here are the Top 3 fears of residents in Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania, where Metro has papers in Boston, New York City and Philadelphia:
1. Car accidents
2. Illegal immigration
3. Medical readmissions
• New York
1. Terrorist attacks
2. The environment