What exactly are the Germans most afraid of?
Have you ever wondered what keeps Germans from sleeping at night? What is it that gives them chills? Well, wonder no more, because an annual study recently revealed what Germans fear most in 2021.
Financial worries top list of fears in Germany
Despite the coronavirus spreading like wildfire across the country over the past two years, with hospitals overflowing, company shutting down, and the rise of the aggressive Delta variant, financial problems are of greater concern to Germans than to Americans. health problems. That’s according to an annual study, undertaken for one of Germany’s largest insurance companies, R + V Versicherung, which seeks to rank the things people across the country fear most.
It is perhaps understandable that Germans are more concerned with wealth than health at this time; Germany has taken on significant debt while trying to fight the coronavirus, and last April the federal government approved € 240 billion in loans for its COVID stimulus fund, a record amount that saw debt The country’s total climb to 2.2 trillion euros. – the highest ever.
Since 2016, Germany has implemented a debt brake which prohibits federal and state governments from posting a budget deficit greater than 0.35% of GDP. The political commitment to a balanced budget, without incurring new debt, became colloquially known as “black zero” and reassured the German people of the country’s financial strength. However, the increase in the national debt is clearly playing on people’s minds.
The 10 things Germans are most afraid of
R + V’s annual study has asked people what they fear most since 1992 and covers topics such as politics, economics, the environment, health and family. The study helps the insurance company to take into account the important aspects related to the risk assessment. This year, researchers interviewed 2,400 people over the age of 14 between late May and early July 2021.
The following list ranks the 10 things Germans fear most according to the percentage of respondents, according to the R + V study:
- Tax increases due to COVID – 53%
- Rising cost of living – 50 percent
- Tax hikes due to EU debt – 50 percent
- Refugees – 45 percent
- Pollutants in food – 43 percent
- Elderly care – 43 percent
- Immigration disputes – 42 percent
- Natural disasters – 41 percent
- Overwhelmed politicians – 41 percent
- Deteriorating economy – 40 percent
Germans fear tax hikes
The head of the R + V department responsible for research, Brigitte Römstedt, explained why financial worries are so frightening for Germans compared to the health problems linked to the coronavirus. “The mountain of debt that has accumulated at federal, state and local levels to deal with the coronavirus pandemic is causing Germans the greatest concern this year,” she said. “People like to push away thoughts of illness, we all know that. But when it comes to money, then, also in my experience, the fears are always very big.”
Financial woes dominate the top half of the list, with Germans equally worried about rising costs of living and tax hikes due to EU debt. The percentage of people concerned about these issues has remained largely the same as in last year’s ranking. However, fears about the country’s economy have eased somewhat since last year, when business was threatened in several sectors due to lockdowns. At the time, 48% of those polled said they were concerned about the economy, which was fourth on the list.
Refugees and climate change are also a concern
Fear that the state would be overloaded with refugees was once again in the top 10 list, despite the lack of a large influx of refugees in 2021. Last year, only 43% of people said they were concerned about it. problem, placing it in eighth position. place.
The survey also showed that natural disasters and climate change are among the top 10 concerns of Germans, with only 41% of people expressing their fears. However, the investigation took place before the floods in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate earlier this summer.
Römstedt has since explained that another survey was carried out in late July to discern people’s fears for the environment. In this survey, 69 percent of those polled indicated their fears about natural disasters and extreme weather conditions, while 61 percent of those polled believed that climate change had dramatic consequences for humanity. According to Römstedt, fear levels increased “because people saw disturbing images every day of the areas affected by the floods. [during the survey period]. I can well imagine that these fears will fade somewhat in the year to come, if we stop seeing these images so much. “
Pragmatic Germans with their fears
Over the years, the study has revealed no specific concerns; Germans, it turns out, are pretty pragmatic when it comes to their fears and worries. “Over the many years that I led the study, one thing has become clear to me: the oft-cited term ‘German angst’ is fundamentally wrong. The Germans are not afraid, ”explained Römstedt.
Studies have shown that the Germans react to real threats. For example, fear of terrorism rose sharply after September 11, fear of unemployment rose after mass layoffs, and environmental fears rose after flooding earlier this year. “As the threats subside, so do the fears. There is not a single fear that is always in the foreground; rather it depends entirely on the current situation,” Römstedt said.