Forty-two percent of Americans believe God created human beings around 10,000 years ago, based on a new Gallup poll.
That number is near what it was in 1982, when 44 percent believed mankind was created in our present form 100 centuries ago. That number peaked at 47 percent at the end of 1999. In 2011, just 40 percent of Americans held to the traditional biblical story of creation.
A total of 31 percent of respondents stated their belief that humans evolved from lower animals, with guidance from a supreme being. That is the lowest number recorded in the last 32 years, with the peak of 40 percent recorded 15 years ago.
Just 19 percent of people subscribe to the ideas of evolution, based on the survey. In 1982, only nine percent of respondents stated their belief in evolution without divine guidance. That percentage has grown steadily over the last three decades.
The differences in opinion were divided, perhaps not surprisingly, between churchgoers and those who do not regularly attend services. Just one percent of respondents who attend weekly religious services adhere to a strictly scientific viewpoint on the question.
"The percentage of Americans who accept the creationist viewpoint ranges from 69% among those who attend religious services weekly to 23% among those who seldom or never attend," Gallup researchers wrote.
Education was another defining difference between respondents in this survey. Of those people who have a high school diploma or less, 57 percent believe in creationism. That share drops to just 27 percent among college graduates.
Seniors were also far more likely than young people to select creationism as their preferred explanation for the origin of the human race. The survey found 30 percent of people ages 18 to 29 affirmed their support for evidence of evolution. Creationist views are held by 28 out of every 100 young people, states the report. The notion of evolution guided by a supreme intelligence is shared by 35 percent of young adults.
"Significantly fewer Americans claim familiarity with creationism than did so seven years ago. In 2007, 86% were familiar, including 50% who were very familiar. Now, 76% are familiar, with just 38% very familiar. In short, even though the adherence to the creationist view has not changed over time, familiarity with the term creationism has diminished," the researchers reported on their website.
The survey was conducted between 8 and 11, May 2014. Pollsters quizzed 1,028 adults nationwide by phone.