About that Elon poll: Why do young adults seem so fearful?

Elon University professors have produced an interesting poll of North Carolinians’ fears. This poll on “Public Perceptions of Safety” recently surveyed North Carolina adults and was done in partnership with The News & Observer and the Durham Herald-Sun.

One of the features of this poll is to position the fear about such risks as terrorism, climate change, and health care costs among more mundane fears of such things as ticks, spiders, and walking on roads without sidewalks. It asked respondents to answer (either very unsafe, unsafe, neither, safe, or very safe), “How safe or unsafe do you feel when you think about your own risk from each of the following?”

Those answers are what most of the commentary I’ve seen have centered upon so far. But my question is based on a general inference from the responses as broken out by the crosstabulations. From that, it appears the 18-to-29-year-old cohort are the most fearful adults. Why? Why are young adults so fearful?

See for yourselves:

Only on a very few measures do adults of any other age group out-fear the young adults. This result surprises me.

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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