Gallup has been tracking Americans’ belief in God since the 1940s, and the percentage who say they do didn’t dip below 90 percent until 2011. Now, they’ve found that 81 percent say they believe in God. That’s still an overwhelming majority, but it is a new low for the United States, down six percent from 2017.
Like most things in the U.S., there are some partisan leanings to unspool here. While majorities of both Republicans and Democrats say they believe in God, Democrats are less likely — with 72 percent saying they believe in God compared to 92 percent of Republicans. A similar trend shows up ideologically, with 62 percent of liberals saying they believe in God compared to 86 percent of moderates and 94 percent of conservatives.
Younger Americans are also less likely to believe in God than their parents and grandparents. 68 percent of 18-29 years say they believe in God, compared to 81 percent of 30-49 year olds and 88 percent of 50-64 year olds.
Crucially, this survey left the idea of “God” open to the respondent.
Interestingly, while belief in God is on the decline, Gallup clocked an even steeper decline in church attendance, church membership and trust in religious institutions as a whole. In other words, it may not be just that belief in God is dropping, but that it’s evolving into something less beholden to traditional ideas of what it even means to believe in God.