In 2018, a YouGov poll questioned over 8,200 US adults’ beliefs about the earth’s shape. For anyone other than proponents of the “flat-Earth theory,” the findings were rather…surprising. Today, we’re highlighting the study’s primary results, starting with the most surprising one of all:
1. Only Two-Thirds of Millennials Accept the Earth Is Round
According to YouGov, only 66% of millennials who partook in the study said they “firmly believe” our planet is spherical. While that doesn’t mean the other third firmly believes the opposite, it suggests they’re at least open to the idea…
2. Two Percent Believe the Earth Is Flat
The numbers drop significantly when looking at ardent flat-earthers. Apparently, just 2% of respondents “resolutely say the earth is flat.” However, given the current US population sits at almost 332 million people, these results imply that over 6.5 million Americans think – and always have done – that the earth’s flat.
3. Most Believe the Earth Is Round
Wikipedia says the ancient Greeks first proved the planet is round in the 5th Century BC. So it’s somewhat reassuring that 84% of YouGov’s respondents believe that to be true. On the flip side, it means at least 16% have their doubts…
4. Five Percent Have Changed Their Mind
Speaking of doubt, the study also found that “5% of the public say they used to believe [the earth is round] but now have their doubts.” The researchers posit no guesses as to what prompted the switch, but there’s some indication that age is involved…
5. Young Millennials Are the Likeliest Flat-Earthers
Similar to the finding that just 66% of millennials “always believed the world is round,” young millennials (aged 18 to 24) were likelier to subscribe to the flat-earth theory. In the study, 4% of people in that age bracket said they believe we live on a flat planet.
6. Religion May Play a Role
Another noteworthy statistic pertains to people’s religious persuasions. According to YouGov, over half (52%) of self-confessed Flat earthers say they’re “very religious” – a sizeable difference versus the 20% of all Americans who put themselves in that category.
7. Atheists Believe the Earth Is Flat, Too
It isn’t just devout religious folks who subscribe to the flat earth philosophy, though. Far from it. One-quarter of Flat earthers say they’re either “Not very religious” or “Not religious at all.”
8. Republican? You’re Less Likely to Be a Flat Earther
Politics may also enter the picture. 83% of Democrats polled believed the planet is round – slightly less than the 89% of Republicans who say the same. Could that difference represent the tendency for younger demographics to vote Democrat?
9. Money Makes a Difference
One of the most significant discrepancies between those who believe the earth is round and those who don’t pertain to income levels. A relatively low 79% of respondents earning under $40k a year believe the earth is round. That number shoots up to 92% among people earning over $80k.
10. Geography Doesn’t Play a Role
It may be tempting to assume that folks from other parts of America would be more likely to subscribe to flat earth beliefs. Yet that’s not what YouGov found. According to this study, at least, geography has no significant role.
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