Belief in God increases with age

  • Follow Your Faith

CHICAGO — Belief in God is highest among older people and increases with age, perhaps because of the growing realization that death is coming closer, University of Chicago researchers said Wednesday.

Summarizing data from surveys performed in 1991, 1998 and 2008 in 30 countries, the university’s National Opinion Research Center found that, on average, 43 percent of respondents age 68 and older were certain that God exists.
By comparison, an average of 23 percent of people age 27 and younger were firm believers in God, according to the report, which gathered data from the International Social Survey Program, a consortium of the world’s leading opinion survey organizations.

“Looking at differences among age groups, the largest increases in belief in God most often occur among those 58 years of age and older. This suggests that belief in God is especially likely to increase among the oldest groups, perhaps in response to the increasing anticipation of mortality,” researcher Tom Smith said in a statement.

Over the past two decades, belief in God has decreased in most countries, but the declines were modest, Smith said.

Israel, Slovenia and Russia were three exceptions where belief in God had grown. In Russia, for instance, nonbelievers who became believers outnumbered by 16 percent those who had lost their belief in God.

Belief was highest in strongly Catholic countries such as the Philip­pines, at 94 percent, and lowest in Western Europe, with only 13 percent of former East Germans believers.

In the United States, 81 percent of people surveyed said they had always believed in God, and 68 percent support the concept that God is concerned with people in a personal way.

People were asked about their range of beliefs, from atheism to strong belief in God; their changing beliefs over their lifetimes; and their attitudes toward the notion that God is concerned with individuals.


The surveys were taken in 1991, 1998 and 2008. The study was done on countries that had been surveyed at least twice. The countries were:

• Australia

• Austria

• Chile

• Cyprus

• Czech Republic

• Denmark

• France

• Germany

• Britain

• Hungary

• Ireland

• Israel

• Italy

• Japan

• Latvia

• Netherlands

• New Zealand

• Northern Ireland

• Norway

• The Philippines

• Poland

• Portugal

• Russia

• Slovakia

• Slovenia

• Spain

• Sweden

• Switzerland

• United States

TO READ the full report, visit the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center at

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ForeverFrog 04/21/12 - 04:49 pm
Question with boldness even

Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787

howcanweknow 04/21/12 - 10:54 pm
Don,t worry. He does. He

Don,t worry. He does. He tells us so in his word.

Jane18 04/22/12 - 06:31 am
Oh Forever Frog, when the

Oh Forever Frog, when the word god is written in small letters, it is meant as a man-made idol. You know, something made of wood, gold, etc. There are so many that think as you, but that's okay, that same Word you make so light of, it tells us there are people just like you, and worse. One day your knees will hit the ground, and everyone of us that tried to talk about The GOD to you, will come racing back to your mind.......................................(they were right, HE IS..REAL!!)

howcanweknow 04/24/12 - 09:12 am
You know, wisdom increases

You know, wisdom increases with age as well. Experience is always the best teacher.

Sounds like there is a correlation here between gaining wisdom and increasing belief in God.

Of course, young folks might not understand that yet, and like Frog, might even call it stupidity. But, it's amazing how a few years helps folks to grow up, gain wisdom, and finally see the truth they've been avoiding.

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