• Allison Guy

More Britons Believe in Ghosts than in God, but the Reverse is True in America

A 2014 survey conducted by OnePoll for Ripley’s Believe It or Not! found that more Britons believe in aliens and ghosts than in God. Among adults, 55% believe in ghosts, while only 25% believe in a personal deity. Among children, 64% believe in ghosts, but only 33% believe in God.

Just over half (51%) of adults believe aliens exist, while 64% of children believe the same.

Among Americans, however, the statistics tell a different story. According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in 2017 among U.S. adults, 80% of respondents indicated that they believe in God.

The percentage of Americans who believe in ghosts and aliens is significantly lower. A poll conducted by The Economist/YouGov in 2018 found that 46% of Americans believe in ghosts, while a Chapman University survey from 2017 also found that only 35% of Americans believe aliens visited earth during its ancient past, and 26% believe aliens visited the planet during modern times.

Not surprisingly, though, the percentage of Americans who believe in God appears to be declining. Gallup has been asking people if they believe in God for decades. In 1944, 96% of survey respondents said they believed in God. By 2014, that number dropped to 86%. That number has since decreased to 80%, according to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey.

But Frank Newport, Gallup’s former editor-in-chief, believes there is more to those statistics than can be readily seen.

Mr. Newport told Time Magazine that when Gallup first began collecting data on whether Americans believe in God, “Americans felt obliged to say they were religious, but nowadays a lot of those same people feel more comfortable telling the interviewer, ‘No, I don’t believe in God’, or ‘I have no religious affiliation.'”

In other words, the statistics may not indicate that fewer Americans believe in God; they may just be more accurately indicating the same non-religious views that have always been the case now that it has become more acceptable to be religiously unaffiliated.

Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans who believe in ghosts seems to be growing. While 46% of Americans believed in ghosts in 2018, results from a Gallup poll from 2000 show that 31% of adults in the U.S. believed in ghosts then. This is up 20 percentage points from 1978 when only 11% of respondents indicated they believed in ghosts.

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