This is the Best Graph You’ll See All Day June 7, 2012

This is the Best Graph You’ll See All Day

The Pew Research Center asked people if they agreed with the statement “I never doubt the existence of God.”

You want to see that number low because it means more people have doubts (or don’t believe in god altogether).

This is what they found — and it’s incredible:

Wow. Look at the line for Millennials. It’s dropping. Quickly.

The difference between the youngest and oldest generations has gone from a 6 point gap in 2007 to a 21 point gap now.

Unshakable religious belief is not as strong as it used to be. That’s a good sign. It’s a trend that needs to continue.

If you’d like to see how that question was answered by different demographics, you can do so here.

(Thanks to Daniel for the link!)

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  • debbiedoesreality

    Good to see.
    You used the word “needs” in “It’s a trend that needs to continue.” and I concur, it is a need, for the sake of humanity.

  • Those numbers are higher than I would have thought. I mean, even the most devout believers have doubts sometimes…right?
    Then again, I remember feeling very guilty every time I doubted, so I never let myself doubt. Maybe they feel too guilty to admit that they doubt on a survey.

  • Interesting trend.

  •  Yes, but can they admit to them, even to themselves?

  • What are those numbers? Percentages?! That’s horrifying, but I guess beginning to trend in the right direction…

  • Gunstargreen

    We can thank the Internet.

  • The interesting thing in those numbers to me was the break-down by SES.  The most religious were the lower and upper-middle classes, while lower-middle and upper class folks were less religious.  I suppose this correlates in some way with feelings of perceived injustice and opportunity and the ability to advance, or something.

    Either way, give it a few more decades, and the US will look more like Europe.

  • The question is, is it too late?

    Are we too far gone for, three-to-four-generations down the line, a more evidence-based society to be able to save us from ourselves?

  • Sinfanti

    No Hemant, I think this is the worst designed graph I’ll see all month.

    Did Pew make this graph?  It’s terrible.  No y-axis labeling and an x-axis you practically have to scroll down for?  Did they pass this off to an intern who’d never used Excel before?  

    OK, done with my Excel-nazi tirade.   Have a good weekend everybody.

  • Andrew Sherwood

    This totally made my day. It will continue, especially as more and more people gain access to the internet and differing viewpoints. The more people have access to information the harder it is to indoctrinate in religious faiths.

  • Stev84

    Those are still terrifying numbers. 70% are absolutely certain? That’s just plain scary

  • usclat

    Sorry but the group you have as “Millennial” is known as “Gen Y”. Millennials are those born from (depending on source) right around the year 2,000 or as far back as 1997. But the trend is interesting nonetheless, though not as encouraging as you think.

  • ortcutt

    “Millennials” is the term the Pew Center uses and this is their definition (born 1981-now).  If we used “people born around 2000” as the standard, then there would be no one in the polling group because everyone polled is 18 and over.  The divisions are all fairly arbitrary and all that matters is that Pew defines how they use the terms, which they do.

    Personally, I think it’s pretty encouraging that doubt and/or disbelief is increasing among these 18-31 year olds, but you’re free to not be encouraged if you like.

  • debbiedoesreality

     Let’s hope for the best.

  • Stev84

    Wikipedia treats both terms synonymously. It’s not about those being born in the year 2000, but those becoming adults around that time and thus being heavily influenced by the culture and the social and technological developments occurring then.

  •  Keep in mind, that’s 70% who are self-reportedly certain. The actual number is likely lower.

  • OK, so when this trend plays out… instead of the prior stereotype of atheist conferences being mostly older folks, soon it will be all young whipper snappers (which clearly I have seen start already and it’s awesome) and eventually they will have to brainstorm programs to draw the older atheists to come to the conferences!

  • I never doubt the existence of god. God does not exist. No doubt there. Maybe this is what you get with an ambiguous question

  • I have to say I think these numbers are skewed. I bet some of these people are lying. I think many people at one time or another “doubt” the existence of god(s). The good thing is, is that the younger generation is willing to admit it publicly.

  • Alice

     The Y-axis is percentages, and it was cut off in this screen shot. The reason for all the whitespace is because they also show the “disagree” options, which are lower percentages. This option was disabled in the screen shot. You can see the full graph at the link.


    i’m a boomer atheist since the age of 5 yrs.

  • DG

    Who doesn’t doubt God’s existence?  At least once in a while.  Would this be the same Pew Research center that famously found 21% of self proclaimed atheists believing in some form of a god?  (2008, under Conception of God: Net belief in God for atheists: 21%, with a whopping 6% believing in a personal God – go to Pew site for further information)   

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