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Religion IN BRIEF

Fewer Americans Say They Read Bible

November 04, 2000|From Times Wire Services

PRINCETON, N.J. — About six in 10 Americans say they read the Bible at least occasionally, but that number is down considerably over the last two decades, according to a Gallup poll.

The October survey found 59% saying they read the Bible. Surveys in the 1980s found that 73% said they did so. The number of those saying they read the Bible weekly or more often dropped only slightly, from 40% in 1990 to 37% now.

Despite the slide in readership, Gallup reported that 65% of Americans still say the Bible "answers all or most of the basic questions of life." The number saying so declined as educationlevel rose: 72% of those with a high school education or less said the Bible answers life's basic questions, compared with 46% of those with postgraduate degrees.

Forty-seven percent of Republicans said they are weekly readers, compared with 32% of Democrats.

The Gallup survey was based on telephone interviews of 1,024 adults Oct. 6-9. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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