Anthropophobia accounted for 22% of all phobias that people searched for online, a five-fold increase over 2019. Searches for this term peaked between April 19–25, in parallel with the expanding COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 setting the fearful tone
Another coronavirus-related change versus 2019 was the number of searches for the “fear of being alone,” which increased three-fold compared to 2019. Last year, it was the most searched-for fear in the state of Tennessee, but this year it took first place in three states, namely Indiana, Minnesota, and Missouri (whereas Tennesseans seem to be more scared of blood this year; see map below).
Likewise, in Florida, which has had a disproportionate amount of coronavirus cases, the most searched-for fear in 2020 has been the fear of germs.
Anthropophobia, meet philophobia
Other state-wide results affirm common stereotypes. New York’s most-searched phobia in 2020, for example, has been “philophobia.” That’s a big word for the fear of intimacy. Or, as Wikipedia puts it, “the fear of falling in love.” The survey also hastens to point out that New York ranks fifth nationwide in its share of single adults.
And in California, a hub for influencers, the leading fear people looked for online was the fear of social media. This new-sounding fear also implies its opposite, namely nomophobia, or the fear of having no mobile phone.
In high-achieving Massachusetts, the state with the highest percentage of college graduates, the most searched-for fear was the fear of failure.
And Hawaii was the only state to have acrophobia — the fear of heights — as its most-searched fear. Doubtless due to the state’s’ many terrifying cliffs.
From snakes and spiders to needles and clowns
Other contender-phobias this year included the fear of: needles, flying, holes, the dark, the outside (Texas), clowns (number one in Montana and New Hampshire; why?), spiders (Michigan and Wisconsin), blood, public speaking, and snakes (Virginia).
See the most-searched for phobias across the land on the map below:
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