Non-partisan polling outfit Pew Research asked 38,426 people across 34 countries from May 13 to October 2, 2019, if it is necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values.
Globally, a median 51% said no, believing in God isn’t necessary to be a moral person with good values while 45% responded yes.
In the United States, 54% said you can be a moral person without tieing that belief to God. Forty-four percent of those Americans polled said religion is necessary for good values.
When Pew Research first asked the question in 2002, 58% of those in the U.S. said a belief in God was necessary to have good values. Today’s figures represent a 14 point drop in that view.
It’s notable, however, when asked if God “plays an important role in their life,” 72% of Americans polled either “completely agreed” or “mostly agreed.”
Monetary status around the world appears to influence which countries do or do not believe religion is required for good values.
From Pew Research:
For example, in Kenya, which has the lowest GDP per capita of all 34 nations included in this analysis ($4,509 in 2019) 95% of respondents express the view that belief in God is integral to being moral.
By contrast, only 9% of respondents in Sweden – which has one of the highest GDP per capita of the nations surveyed ($55,815 in 2019) – say belief in God is necessary to be moral.
This pattern is consistent with prior research that has found that Europeans tend to be less religious than people in many other parts of the world.
On an individual basis, those who earn at or above the median income threshold in most nations are significantly less likely to say that belief in God is necessary for morality.
The largest difference between those at different income levels is in the U.S. where 56% of those in lower-income brackets do feel a belief in God is necessary versus only 34% of those who land above median income levels feel the same way.