Roughly eight-in-ten U.S. adults (81%) say humans have evolved over time, according to data from a new Pew Research Center study. This includes one-third of all Americans (33%) who say that humans evolved due to processes like natural selection with no involvement by God or a higher power, along with 48% who believe human evolution occurred through processes guided or allowed by God or a higher power. The same survey found that 18% of Americans reject evolution entirely, saying humans have always existed in their present form. (See the full report for a deeper look at the ways question wording and format can affect survey results on evolution.)
Around four-in-ten white evangelical Protestants (38%) say humans have always existed in their present form, and about a quarter (27%) of black Protestants share this view, according to the new study. Among white mainline Protestants, just 16% say humans have always existed in their present form. Similar shares of Catholics (13%) and the religiously unaffiliated (11%) say the same. Only among the religiously unaffiliated – those who describe their religion as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – do a majority (64%) accept evolution via natural selection with no involvement from God or a higher power. Both Protestants and Catholics are considerably more likely to say evolution was guided or allowed by God than they are to say that humans evolved due to processes such as natural selection, or to say that humans have always existed in their present form.
In Latin America, for example, roughly four-in-ten or more residents of several countries – including Ecuador, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic – say humans and other living things have always existed in their present form. This is true even though the official teachings of Catholicism, which is the majority religion in the region, do not reject evolution. In Central and Eastern Europe, evolution is broadly accepted, but roughly half or more of adults in two countries – Armenia and Bosnia – reject it. Meanwhile, Muslims in many nations are divided on the topic, although majorities of Muslims in countries such as Afghanistan, Indonesia and Iraq reject evolution.