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Your State’s Most-Searched Phobia | 2020

Each State's Most Common Fear


Phobias are more than being scared of the dark or the occasional Daddy Long Legs. While fear is an emotional response, phobias produce anxiety strong enough to affect someone’s quality of life. 

For instance, if you have a general fear of flying, you may pop some sleeping meds ahead of your trip or stock up on books or movies to keep your mind occupied. But if you have aviophobia, you might avoid flying altogether. 

Each of us has something that gives us the heebie-jeebies. For Kendall Jenner, it’s small holes. For Howie Mandel, it’s germs. But what scares your neighbor the most? What are the people in your state most afraid of?

With Halloween right around the corner, the team at YourLocalSecurity came out with its annual report on each state’s most-searched phobia to find out which fear gets under peoples’ skin the most. Read on to see your state’s most-searched phobia (and how it stacks up against last year’s report). 


Freaky Facts

  • This year, anthropophobia, the fear of people, made up 22% of all phobia search volume—making it the most-searched fear in the United States. Search volume for anthropophobia increased by five times since 2019 and it reached an ultimate high between April 19th–25th. We can’t say for sure, but we’re *fairly* confident COVID-19 played a role in this.
  • Last year, three states cited aviophobia (the fear of flying) as their most-searched phobia. In 2020, seven states searched for aviophobia the most. Between rising COVID-19 cases and various travel bans, the travel industry—and airlines especially—have taken a massive hit. Nearly every major airline is in survival mode after losing billions of dollars, collectively. 
  • Compared to last year, the fear of being alone increased three times. Last year, Tennessee was a lone wolf in searching for the phobia the most, but this year, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri fear it the most instead.
  • California, which is home to Los Angeles, a central hub for influencers, was the only state to have the biggest fear of social media. LA alone has 14,000 influencers
  • With 266,119 Coronavirus cases and counting, we can see why locals in Florida fear germs so much. Florida’s sandy white beaches were hotspots this summer—so much so that the state saw a rapid spike in COVID-related hospitalizations on July 9, 2020.  
  • New York’s most-searched phobia is philophobia: the fear of intimacy. Don’t believe us? The state is ranked fifth in the nation for having the highest share of single adults. If you’re a New York native looking to dive into the dating pool, though, fear not: NY ranks as the second most restaurants per state, giving you lots of solid first date options (you know, once COVID is over).  
  • People in Massachusetts fear failure the most of anything, yet the state boasts the highest percentage of college graduates in the country. (Talk about incentive to succeed.)
  • Hawaii was the only state with acrophobia (fear of heights) as its most-searched fear—and we don’t blame them. Beyond the state’s picturesque waves and screen saver-worthy sunsets, Hawaii has numerous jaw-dropping cliffs and some of the most dangerous hikes in the world.


To find the most-searched phobia in each state, we analyzed the top fifteen terms from last year’s piece and added three additional new search queries that begin with the phrase “fear of.” 

Note: fear of water was not included in our analysis this year since no state looked it up. We also rephrased searched queries for the following: 

  • Fear of germs 
  • Fear of being outside 
  • Fear of social media

Protect Yourself from What Goes Bump in the Night

Armor up with ADT security cameras this Halloween to keep yourself safe from more than germs. Whether you leave a bowl out for trick-or-treaters or put up spooky cobwebs and black plastic bats, ADT-monitored home security systems can help you keep track of which goblins and ghouls walk by your front door.

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