A median of 74% of adults worldwide affirms that humans and other living things have evolved over time, according to a Pew Research Center report published Dec. 10.
By comparison, a median of 21% say humans and other living things have always existed as they are currently.
Affirmation of evolution varies significantly between nations and between religious traditions within countries.
For example, 88% of all adults in Japan and 87% in Spain say evolution has taken place, compared to only 43% in Malaysia and 54% in Brazil.
With a few exceptions, Christian affirmation of evolution is below the national average.
The largest disparities are in South Korea (50% affirmation; 20 points below the national average), Taiwan (56% affirmation; 18 points below) and the Czech Republic (71% affirmation; 11 points below).
Malaysia has the lowest percentage of Christians who say evolution has taken place (40%), while Spain has the highest (86%).
By contrast, the religiously unaffiliated are, with few exceptions, above the national average in affirming that evolution has taken place.
The largest differences are in the U.S. (89% affirmation; 25 points above the national average), Canada (93%; 16 points above), Australia (87%; 15 points above) and the United Kingdom (88%; 15 points above).
Canada and Spain have the highest percentage of religiously unaffiliated who affirm evolution has happened (both at 93%), while Singapore has the lowest (69%).
Adults worldwide who deny evolution are divided on whether there is a conflict between their religious beliefs and scientific explanations on the origins of life.
“A median of 48% across the 17 publics with a large enough sample for analysis say they can, while a median of 45% say the two cannot be compatible,” the report said.
The divide was closest in the U.S., with 49% saying they cannot be compatible and 48% that they can be while the gap was widest in Taiwan, with 35% saying they cannot be and 63% that they can.
The U.K. had the highest percentage (57%) and Taiwan the smallest percentage of adults (35%) who said they cannot be compatible.