Editor's Note: This article was updated on June 24, 2022, with Gallup's latest data on Americans' belief in God.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The answer to how many Americans believe in God depends on how the question is asked. Gallup has measured U.S. adults' belief in God three different ways in recent years, with varying results. And those variations have persisted, even as belief on all three has trended downward since the early 2000s.
Line graph showing trends in the percentages of Americans who believe in God, according to three different question. In 2022, 81% say they believe when simply asked, "Do you believe in God?" This is down from 87% in 2017, but another poll that year found 64% saying they are convinced God exists. In 2016, when 89% said they believe in God using the simple question, 79% said God is "something they believe in" rather than something they are not sure about or disbelieve.
Most recently, Gallup found 81% of Americans expressing belief when asked the simple question, "Do you believe in God?" This was down from 87% in 2017 and a record low for this question first asked in 1944, when 96% believed. It reached a high of 98% in the 1950s and 1960s.
Other Gallup questions asked most recently in 2016 and 2017 offered more response options than a simple "yes" or "no," and found a lower percentage -- 10 to 25 points lower -- expressing a belief in God.
- In 2016, 79% of U.S. adults said God is "something [they] believe in"; 10% said it was "something [they're] not sure about"; and 11% said they didn't believe in God.
- In 2017, Gallup found belief in God was even lower when confining it to those who are "convinced" God exists. In that poll, 64% of U.S. adults expressed certainty about the existence of God; 21% said God probably exists, but they have doubts; 6% said God probably doesn't exist; and 7% were convinced God doesn't exist.
The 64% in 2017 saying they are convinced God exists and the 79% in 2016 saying God is something they believe in contrast with the 89% who in 2016 said they believe in God when offered only a "yes" or "no" response.
Belief in God using the more complex response options (wordings B and C in the chart) would likely be lower today than when each was last asked in 2016 or 2017, mirroring the decline seen in 2022, when the more basic question (wording A) was updated. Still, the trends are recent enough that a majority of Americans likely remain believers today, regardless of whether the standard is absolute certainty or a propensity to believe.
Gallup measures Americans' views on God and religion as part of its Values & Beliefs poll -- one of 12 surveys that make up the Gallup Poll Social Series.
Gallup's full trends on religion are available on the Religion "Topics A to Z" page.
Explore Gallup articles about God and other religion-related topics on the "Religion" topics page.
For more articles in the "Short Answer" series, visit Gallup's The Short Answer page.