Fact Check: Do 80% of Americans Believe in God?

The presence of faith groups and their influence in education across the U.S. has been under debate in recent years, including after the Supreme Court in 2022 granted access to public money for religious schools, a move both praised and criticized.

At the same time, some states have sought to roll back some of the teaching of LGBTQ+ rights and history in schools, such as the introduction of "Don't Say Gay" bills and the banning of gay texts in many school libraries.

However, according to one popular Twitter account comparing the number of Americans who believe in God with those in the gay and queer communities, the church still sits at the back of class.

Religion in America
A stock image of a woman in church. A social media post compared statistics on belief in God versus members of the LGBTQ+ community to make a point about education in U.S. schools. iStock / Getty Images

The Claim

A tweet by End Wokeness, posted on February 20, 2023, viewed more than 2.7 million times, states: "5% of the US is LGBT+ 80% of the US believes in GOD Yet we replaced this: With this:"

An image beneath the tweet juxtaposes two photos; a black and white photo of schoolchildren praying and a color photo of children holding pride flags.

The Facts

The premise of the tweet appears to be that despite a greater number of Americans holding religious values (a clear majority versus those who identify as "LGBT+"), the teaching of gay-inclusive values is more predominant in schools.

While the tweet does not mention the Bible or Christianity, the image of a group of children and a teacher in what looks like Christian prayer suggests that the "God" referred to here is Judeo-Christian.

But do 80% of Americans believe in god, Christian or otherwise?

According to a Gallup poll that has been running since 1944, when asked the question "Do you believe in God?", 81 percent of participants responded "Yes", a fall of 11 percent since 2011.

In 2017, however, Pew Research, responding to Gallup, conducted its own survey examining the meaning behind the broad question.

Respondents were asked the same question "Do you believe in God or not?", of which 80 percent answered "Yes". But only 56 percent of respondents said they believed in God as described in the Bible.

Thirty-three percent of all respondents said they believed in "some other higher power/spiritual force."

More recent Pew data found that 30 percent of people identify as religiously unaffiliated or "nones". Another six percent identified with non-Christian faiths, some of which do not practice monotheism.

The figure about LGBTQ+ populations is debatable, too. A recent Gallup poll found that the number of U.S. adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender had increased to 7.1 percent, as of 2022.

The figure was higher among Generation Z Americans, at 20.8 percent.

A Census Bureau survey from 2021 found a similar number with 8 percent of respondents identifying as LGBTQ+.

As pointed out in an analysis of the Census Bureau stats by the activist organization Human Rights Campaign Foundation, estimating the actual size of the U.S. and the demographic of the gay and queer community has significant challenges, such as sampling and bias playing a role in respondents' answers.

This means that the actual percentage of the U.S. population who are LGBTQ+ but have not identified as such is potentially higher than five percent.

Crucially, though, the tweet about God appears to be based on polling statistics that do not reveal in any depth or detail the nature of Americans' belief in God.

So, while the statistic is accurate, additional analysis suggests that Americans' belief in God is more complex than the tweet implies.

Newsweek has contacted End Wokeness for comment.

The Ruling

Needs Context

Needs Context.

The tweet that 80 percent of Americans believe in God appears to refer to a Gallup poll, running since 1944, that surveyed the question "Do you believe in God?", to which 81 percent responded "Yes" in 2022.

However, further examination of the polling data available shows a more complex and fragmented belief in God among Americans than is suggested by the tweet. For example, other data suggests only 64 percent of Americans identify as Christian.

The statistic about LGBTQ+ representation appears to be an underestimate too.

FACT CHECK BY Newsweek's Fact Check team