Sunday, July 3, 2011

More Americans fear public speaking than getting fat, and death tied for third

Back in October 1997 American Demographics magazine published a single-page article called "Scaredy Cats" containing a brief bar chart showing twelve fears. (Point and click on it to see a larger version). Fear of public speaking was first (56%), followed by fear of getting fat (45%). Death (41%) tied for third - with both going to the dentist and going out alone at night. The article mentioned that the low level of fear they asked about just was:

“....afraid of or bothered slightly by.”

That survey was done in 1996 by Roper Reports. You can find the article text (but not the chart) here. The magazine article was published twenty years after the Book of Lists, but it is almost never mentioned. I thought it was time to bring it up. As this cartoon shows, men and women have very different notions about getting fat. So, have a great Fourth of July, but try not to eat too much pie.

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