More than three-quarters (76 percent) of German consumers said their biggest fear was an increase in the cost of living in the “The Fears of Germans” study conducted by the R+V Insurance company. Inflation fears haven't been this high since 1991 when the company began the annual survey. Last year only 66 percent of Germans said they feared inflation, but this year rising energy and grocery costs heavily influenced the rise in economic apprehensions, the study said.
Trust in the economy is down too, the report said. Some 58 percent of those polled placed a worsening economic situation among their top fears.
“This is not a surprise,” political scientist and study advisor Dr. Manfred Schmidt said, adding that despite the fact that the economy is in relatively good shape, many Germans feel they are suffering. “Germany puts a high value on price stability and people feel it's threatened, which wakes dormant fears about inflation and the future.”
As in past studies, fear of natural disasters still topped the list of fears – another 58 percent included acts of God on their list of anxieties, tying with economic fears for second place. Germans in the western part of the country had more fears about natural disasters than those in the east of the country.
Panic about terrorism and war, in contrast, were down from previous years by 10 percent, taking 11th place at 41 percent.
These fears of economic instability gave Germans the jitters about the future too. Forty-one percent of them said they feared a declining standard of living as they age. Other major fears among the 2,400 Germans polled included old-age sickness and care needs, though these anxieties were increasing only among older Germans.
Gender differences in poll results included a more intense fears about the future among women, and more fear about joblessness among men.
Unemployment was also a major issue for residents of the formerly communist eastern states, meanwhile more western Germans tended to dread terrorism.