While 81% of American adults say they believe in God, the percentage has dropped 6 points since 2017 and is the lowest since the Gallup polling firm started asking the question more than seven decades ago. Gallup says when it first asked the question in 1947 and twice in the 1950s and 1960s, a consistent 98% said they believed in God. In 2011, the percentage declined to 92%. In 2013, 2014 and 2017, it dipped to 87%. “Belief in God has fallen the most in recent years among young adults and people on the left of the political spectrum. These groups show drops of 10 or more percentage points comparing the 2022 figures to an average of the 2013-2017 polls,” the poll results say. The poll notes that only 72% of Democrats, 62% of liberals and 68% of young people believe in God. “Belief in God is highest among political conservatives (94%) and Republicans (92%), reflecting that religiosity is a major determinant of political divisions in the U.S., it adds.
Looking at belief in God region-wise, the poll found that the South has the highest number with 86%, but it is down from 93% in 2017. The region with the lowest number is the East, with 78%. Gallup also asked whether God hears prayers and whether God intervenes when people pray. About half of those who believe in God say God hears prayers and can intervene on a person’s behalf. But 28% say God hears prayers but cannot intervene, and 11% think God does neither. The poll also found that nearly three-quarters of the most religious Americans — defined as those who attend religious services every week, say they believe God hears prayers and can intervene, as do slightly more than half of conservatives and Republicans, as well as 25% of liberals and 32% of Democrats. Further, only 30% of young adults believe God hears prayers and can intervene.
In conclusion, the poll notes, “While belief in God has declined in recent years, Gallup has documented steeper drops in church attendance, church membership and confidence in organized religion, suggesting that the practice of religious faith may be changing more than basic faith in God.” Last December, Gallup found that 49% of Americans said religion was “very important” in their life, with another 27% saying it was “fairly important” and 25% saying it’s “not very important.” Gallup noted that when it first asked this question in 1965, 70% said religion was very important. That fell to 52% in a 1978 survey, though the percentage ticked up to near 60% between 1990 and 2005, before declining in the past 15 years.
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