The geography of anxiety . . .

Which are the world’s most – and least – fearful cities

The Fear in the Mega-Cities survey was carried out in July 2008 in ten metropolitan cities around the world. In each city a sample of inhabitants between the ages of 15 and 75 was asked to identify the fears that it regarded as very important in life, from the personal (such as losing loved ones and loss of self-sufficiency) to the social, political and catastrophic (for example, being the victim of crime, terrorism or natural disaster). This table shows the five fears identified as the most significant in each city, listed in ranking order. The figures indicate the percentage of respondents that identified with these fears. Perhaps surprisingly, London emerges as the least worried city, with very much the smallest number of respondents in each category: only 20.8 per cent of Londoners identified any important fears in the top five categories. São Paulo is the most anxious, with 24.8 per cent expressing the most significant fear – of losing loved ones – closely followed by Mumbai and Cairo.

Source: World Social Summit Survey, 2008

This article appears in the 20 October 2008 issue of the New Statesman, My year with Obama