Most U.S. adults believe in God, but the 81 percent who do so is down six percentage points from 2017 and is the lowest in Gallup’s trend. Between 1944 and 2011, more than 90 percent of Americans believed in God. Gallup’s May 2-22 Values and Beliefs poll finds 17 percent of Americans saying they do not believe in God.

Gallup first asked this question in 1944, repeating it in 1947 and twice each in the 1950s and 1960s. In those last four surveys, a consistent 98 percent said they believed in God. When Gallup asked the question nearly five decades later, in 2011, 92 percent of Americans said they believed in God.

A subsequent survey in 2013 found belief in God dipping below 90 percent to 87 percent, roughly where it stood in three following updates between 2014 and 2017 before this year’s drop to 81 percent.

Gallup has also, in recent years, asked other questions aimed at measuring belief in God or a higher power. All find the vast majority of Americans saying they believe; when given the option, five to 10 percent have said they were “unsure.”

Belief in God has fallen the most in recent years among young adults and people on the left of the political spectrum (liberals and Democrats). These groups show drops of 10 or more percentage points comparing the 2022 figures to an average of the 2013-2017 polls. Most other vital subgroups have experienced at least a modest decline, although conservatives and married adults have had essentially no change.

The groups with the most significant declines are also the groups that are currently least likely to believe in God, including liberals (62 percent), young adults (68 percent), and Democrats (72 percent). Belief in God is highest among political conservatives (94 percent) and Republicans (92 percent), reflecting that religiosity is a significant determinant of political divisions in the U.S.

A follow-up question in the survey probed further into what Americans’ belief in God entails. Specifically, the question asked whether God hears prayers and whether God intervenes when people pray.

About half of those who believe in God, equal to 42 percent of all Americans, say God hears prayers and can intervene on a person’s behalf. Meanwhile, 28 percent of Americans say God hears prayers but cannot intervene, while 11 percent think God does.

Nearly three-quarters of the most religious Americans, defined as those who attend religious services weekly, say they believe God hears prayers and can intervene. So do slightly more than half of conservatives and Republicans, 25 percent of liberals, and 32 percent of Democrats. Thirty percent of young adults believe God hears prayers and can intervene.

Fewer Americans today than five years ago believe in God, and the percentage was down even more from the 1950s and 1960s when almost all Americans did. Still, the vast majority of Americans believe in God, whether that means they feel a higher power hears prayers and can intervene or not. It’s comforting to know that God is there for us and hears our prayers.

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