Click here to close now.


News Feed Item

U.S. Teens More Likely than Adults to Believe in God, Heaven and Angels

Only 43% of American teens believe in Darwin's theory of evolution

NEW YORK, March 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A recent Harris Poll of U.S. adults (ages 18 and older) found belief in God (74%), while strong, to be in decline when compared to previous years; the same held true for many other building blocks of the Judeo-Christian belief system, while belief in Darwin's theory of evolution (47%) was on the rise. But what about the next generation of Americans? As it turns out, belief in God (80% teens vs. 74% adults), heaven (78% teens vs. 68% adults) and angels (74% teens vs. 68% adults), among other foundational religious beliefs, are higher among U.S. teens (ages 13-18) than among their adult counterparts.

Harris Poll Logo.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 712 U.S. teens (ages 13-18) surveyed online from February 12-24, 2014 using the Harris Poll YouthQuery omnibus platform. (Click here for complete results, including data tables)

Belief in miracles (76% teens vs. 72% adults) is also stronger among U.S. teens than among adult Americans, as is belief in the devil (65% teens vs. 58% adults) and in hell (64% teens vs. 58% adults). Teens are also more likely to believe that Jesus is God or the Son of God (74% teens vs. 68% adults) and to believe in the resurrection of Christ (70% teens vs. 65% adults). On the other hand, teens are less likely than adults to believe in Darwin's theory of evolution (43% teens vs. 47% adults).

Gender & age differences
Female teenagers are more likely than their male counterparts to believe in God (84% females vs. 77% males), along with several of the traditional concepts of the Judeo-Christian belief system, including heaven (82% females vs. 74% males), miracles (81% females vs. 71% males) and angels (81% females vs. 67% males).

Turning away from religious concepts, Female teens are also more likely to believe in ghosts (53% females vs. 39% males), while their male counterparts are more likely to believe in UFOs (35% males vs. 27% females).

Breaking out findings by age, older teens (ages 16-18) are more likely than their younger counterparts (ages 13-15) to believe in Darwin's theory of evolution (48% older teens vs. 38% younger teens). This could be a byproduct of their likely having a few more science classes under their belts by their late teens – though this fails to explain older teens also being more likely to believe in astrology (41% older teens vs. 32% younger teens).

Absolute certainty that there is a God on par with adults; differences emerge by gender
In a separate line of questioning, focused on U.S. teens' and adults' degree of certainty that there is or is not a God, nearly seven in ten Americans in both of these groups (69% teens, 68% adults) indicate being either absolutely or somewhat certain that there is a God, while 54% of each group specify being absolutely certain.

  • Absolute certainty that there is a God is significantly stronger among female teens (58%) than among their male counterparts (49%).
  • Male teens, meanwhile, are roughly twice as likely as their female counterparts to hold the admittedly minority viewpoint of absolute certainty that there is no God (11% vs. 6%, respectively).

Gender of God
Unlike U.S. adults, teens display a consensus as to whether God is a man or a woman, with the majority (53% teens vs. 39% adults) believing that He is male, with notable minorities believing God is neither male nor female (24% teens vs. 31% adults) or both male and female (7% teens vs. 10% adults); only 1% of U.S. teens and adults alike believe She is female.

Younger teens are more likely to believe that God is male (58% ages 13-15 vs. 49% ages 16-18), while older teens are more likely to believe that God is neither male nor female (28% ages 16-18 vs. 20% ages 13-15).

Click here for more information regarding the Harris Poll YouthQuery platform.

To see other recent Harris Polls, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.

Want Harris Polls delivered direct to your inbox? Click here!

A Note on the Methodology Used and How It Affects the Results
Other research has shown that when replying to a question administered impersonally by a computer, people are less likely to say they believe in God, or attend Church services when they really don't.  It is generally believed that surveys conducted by live interviewers tend to exaggerate the numbers of people who report the socially desirable, or less embarrassing, behavior, and that the replies given to an online survey such as this, are more honest and therefore more accurate.

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between February 12 and 24, 2014 among 712 teenagers (aged 13-18) using the Harris Poll YouthQuery omnibus platform. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

The Harris Poll® #25, March 13, 2014
By Larry Shannon-Missal, Harris Poll Research Manager

About Nielsen & The Harris Poll
On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll.  Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit

Logo -

Press Contact:
Corporate Communications
The Harris Poll
[email protected]  

SOURCE The Harris Poll

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing & protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. CommVault can ensure protection & E-Discovery of your data - whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
In recent years, at least 40% of companies using cloud applications have experienced data loss. One of the best prevention against cloud data loss is backing up your cloud data. In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Sam McIntyre, Partner Enablement Specialist at eFolder, presented how organizations can use eFolder Cloudfinder to automate backups of cloud application data. He also demonstrated how easy it is to search and restore cloud application data using Cloudfinder.
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Su...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and t...
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessi...
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion...
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...