Comedian Jerry Seinfeld said, "According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy." This is very funny, but it is not true.
Being in Toastmasters, I hear time and time again speakers saying that people would rather be dead than speak in public. Apparently they are getting their facts from comedians. The truth is, phobias, like speaking in public, are common because they are fears of common experiences. In no way does this mean they rather be in tub of spiders, thrown out of a plane naked (with only a parachute), or killed by a guy dressed as Bigfoot. These highly unlikely situations are far less desirable by any non-pathological person, yet not "feared" because of their unlikeliness.
So the next time someone tells you that "studies show" most people would rather be dead than speak in public, ask them to show you one person who would seriously take their own life before introducing themselves to a group of people.