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A new Gallup poll out today finds that the percentage of Americans who believe in God is at an all-time low.

In 2017, 87% of Americans said they believed in God. That number has now dropped to an astonishing 81%, according to the group’s Values and Beliefs poll, which is all the more fascinating considering that the number hovered over 90% between 1944 and 2011, when there was no shortage of national crises.

Keep in mind that 81% is the number across the board; it falls much further depending on the subgroup. Gallup found that, while every single demographic has seen some drop in God-belief, it’s especially noticeable for people under 30, liberals, and Democrats.

Most other key subgroups have experienced at least a modest decline, although conservatives and married adults have had essentially no change.

The groups with the largest declines are also the groups that are currently least likely to believe in God, including liberals (62%), young adults (68%) and Democrats (72%). Belief in God is highest among political conservatives (94%) and Republicans (92%), reflecting that religiosity is a major determinant of political divisions in the U.S.

These numbers reflect a trend we’ve been seeing for years. Fewer than half of all Americans now say they’re members of a church, synagogue, or mosque. Only about a third of Americans (36%) say they have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in organized religion. Meanwhile, a majority of Americans now say they harbor at least some doubt in God’s existence.

What’s the explanation for the more recent decline, though? Gallup doesn’t get into that kind of analysis, but keep in mind that drop is far more significant for organized religion than the concept of God itself. People may be less likely to believe in a Higher Power today, sure, but a lot of those people just don’t have any desire to belong to a religious institution. And why would they? Between evangelical churches turning into arms of the Republican Party, sex abuse scandals in Southern Baptist congregations and Catholic churches, the pandemic pushing us away from large gatherings (and religious groups eager to ignore the science and put members at risk), you have to be pretty damn devoted to your particular club to continue attending services week after week.

It’s much easier to connect with God on your own, if that’s your thing, and easier still to ditch the concept entirely.

Given that young people are quitting God faster than most, and that it’s a lot easier to leave a religion when you know people who have already taken that step, this trend won’t stop anytime soon. I suspect the percentage will get lower and lower until it eventually smooths out; it’s not taking a temporary dip only to climb back up in the future.

At least on that single question of whether people believe in God, its long past time more people came to their senses.

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.