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These are Germany's 10 biggest fears

These are Germany's 10 biggest fears

These are Germany's 10 biggest fears

The Germans are feeling much more relaxed and optimistic. Overall, the mood is more positive than at any other time during the last 25 years, according to the annual “Fears of the Germans” survey. Nevertheless, one in every two people in Germany continues to worry about current political and social problems, and there are some significant trends.

The Fears of the Germans survey 2019

Every summer since 1992, insurance company R + V Versicherung has conducted a survey of around 2.400 German citizens aged 14 and over, to gauge how worried they are feeling, and which concerns are particularly plaguing them.

In comparison with previous years, 2019’s survey shows that, despite recession warnings and temperature-record-breaking summers, the Germans haven’t been this relaxed since 1994. Only 39 percent said that they are anxious about the future at the moment. Three years ago, it was more than 50 percent.

Germans most concerned about immigration

But this reduction notwithstanding, it is clear that the fears of the Germans haven’t entirely melted away. “The overall improved mood should not obscure the fact that the current political problems cause more than one in two Germans much concern,” write the study’s authors. 

10 specific fears were cited by a large proportion of the survey’s respondents: 

  • State overburdened by refugees (56 percent)
  • Tensions caused by the arrival of foreigners (55)
  • More dangerous world through Trump politics (55)
  • Excessive demands of politicians (47)
  • Political extremism (47)
  • Unaffordable housing market (45)
  • Care in old age (45)
  • Taxpayers’ costs due to EU debt crisis (44)
  • Terrorism (44)
  • Rising cost of living (43)

Fears sink faster in West than East

Some clear trends were discernible from the survey responses: although fears about refugees, immigation tensions and Trump all landed at the top of the list, fewer people overall reported being concerned about them compared with previous years. For instance, last year 63 percent of people said they were concerned about refugees and immigration, and a full 69 percent about Trump’s policies. 

Concern about terrorist attacks has also fallen, down to 44 percent from 71 percent two years ago, soon after the 2016 attacks in Germany and France. Fears about climate change and extreme weather did not make it into the top 10, being a cause for concern for 41 percent of people. Survey respondents were also clearly not concerned about the economic situation in Germany: only 24 percent are afraid of losing their jobs, the lowest level ever recorded by the survey. 

30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, one difference is getting bigger again: in East Germany, all fears are more widespread than in West Germany. Fears about terrorism, Trump and foreigners have sunk much faster in the West than in the East. The proportion of these afraid of excessive demands from the state and social tensions due to immigration is 64 percent of the population in East Germany, ten percentage points more than in the West. 

Abi

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Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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