WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Though a 2018 Gallup poll found that U.S. church membership has reached an all-time low of 50%, and one in five Americans does not identify with any religion, most of the country still expresses belief in God. Exactly how large that majority is, however, depends on how nuanced the response options are.
Gallup has asked this question three different ways in recent years, with belief varying across them from 87% to 64%.
The highest level of belief (87%) comes from a simple yes/no question, "Do you believe in God?" which Gallup last asked in 2017.
Belief drops to 79% when respondents are given three options, one being God is something they believe in. The rest are either not sure whether they believe in God or firmly say they do not believe in God.
Belief in God appears even lower when isolating just those from the five-part question who say they are "convinced" God exists, 64%. While all three measures of belief have exhibited declines, this group's drop has been the steepest.
The array of Gallup results leads to the conclusion that putting a percentage on Americans' belief in God depends on how you define "belief." If the standard is absolute certainty -- no hedging and no doubts -- it's somewhere around two-thirds. If the standard is a propensity to believe rather than not to believe, then the figure is somewhere north of three-quarters.
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.