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Belief in God increases with age, U. of C. study finds

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Updated: May 21, 2012 8:47AM



The closer you are to meeting your maker — as the saying goes — the more likely you are to believe in a supreme being.

That’s according to a new University of Chicago report released this week, which found — among other things — that worldwide, a belief in God is highest among older adults.

On average, 43 percent of those aged 68 and older are certain that God exists, compared with 23 percent of those 27 and younger, according to the report, entitled “Belief About God Across Time and Countries.”

The data came from tens of thousands of participants in 30 countries, including the United States.

The surveys also found that atheism was strongest in the Scandinavian countries, Russia and the former East Germany. The people of the Philippines were the most likely to believe in God, with 94 percent of those surveyed saying they’d always believed in God.

— Stefano Esposito

Belief in God by age
Country<2828-3738-4748-5758-6768+Difference
<28 to 68+
Australia14.721.127.923.029.736.7+22.0
Austria7.722.816.422.233.331.9+24.2
Chile66.177.680.785.785.392.8+26.7
Cyprus47.847.858.269.074.389.4+41.6
Czech Rep.6.06.57.211.412.726.4+20.4
Denmark8.111.110.711.514.622.3+14.2
France7.912.212.414.719.825.7+17.8
Germany (East)0.06.86.88.98.312.7+12.7
Germany (West)17.825.229.227.026.236.4+18.6
Great Britain9.219.516.714.517.922.3+13.1
Hungary15.917.216.322.430.740.4+24.5
Ireland29.531.142.142.765.270.1+40.6
Israel69.166.166.068.064.952.7-16.4
Italy35.936.037.042.948.466.7+30.8
Japan2.02.73.24.84.17.8+5.8
Latvia11.720.714.423.829.438.9+27.2
Netherlands20.816.418.214.823.034.3+13.5
New Zealand18.823.327.729.931.630.2+11.4
Northern Ireland35.333.540.241.557.270.6+35.3
Norway8.512.615.913.321.118.3+9.8
Philippines76.485.885.085.185.285.9+9.5
Poland48.458.462.666.466.379.3+30.9
Portugal41.438.841.856.955.575.4+34.0
Russia28.229.031.423.826.841.8+13.6
Slovakia34.533.831.137.348.960.7+26.2
Slovenia17.622.820.920.323.139.1+21.5
Spain21.828.930.036.148.365.4+43.6
Sweden8.49.310.011.58.214.9+6.5
Switzerland15.623.321.127.419.942.2+26.6
United States53.859.455.063.869.066.0+12.2


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