Study: As Unemployment Increases, So Does Belief in Bible

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

Just three years after belief in the Bible hit a 35-year low in the U.S., an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics done by polling giant Gallup has found that as unemployment increased, so did belief in sacred Scripture. is reporting that according to Gallup’s analysis, belief in the bible hit a record low in May 2008 when unemployment was hovering at 5.4 percent. At that time, only 76 percent of Americans told Gallup they thought the Bible was the “actual” or “inspired” word of God that should be “taken literally, word for word.” A record 22 percent said they believed the Bible was an “ancient book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man.”

However, when Gallup polled this question again in May, 2011, with unemployment hovering at 9.1 percent – belief in Scripture had climbed to 79 percent of Americans who said they believed the Bible was the actual or inspired word of God with only 17 percent calling it a book of fables.

“Between Gallup’s May 2008 and May 2011 polls, disbelief in the Bible had declined by 5 points (22 percent to 17 percent), while unemployment, as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, had climbed 3.7 points (5.4 percent to 9.1 percent),” CNS reports.

Gallup then reviewed historical data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and compared the results of its polls on this issue with unemployment figures and saw that belief in the Bible goes up as unemployment increases. 

In the 35 years that Gallup has polled Americans on this question, belief in the Bible was at its highest in the summer of 1980 when 85 percent said they believed Scripture to be the actual or inspired word of God and only 10 percent said they believed it was a book of fables. At that time, unemployment was at a much higher rate of 7.8 percent.

The poll reached its lowest number in February, 2001, just seven months before the Sept. 11 attacks when unemployment was at a low of 4.2 percent. As unemployment climbed to 6.0 in the wake of the attacks, that number had climbed to a near record high of 82 percent by December, 2002.

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