Sunday, August 5, 2007

Thoughts on the Afterlife Among U.S. Adults 50+

"To varying degrees, those surveyed say they believe in...

* God (94%)
* life after death (73%)
* the existence of spirits or ghosts (53%)
* heaven (86%) and hell (70%)

While 66 percent say their confidence in life after death has increased as they've gotten older, 20 percent report being frightened when considering what happens to them when they die. In examining the possible influences of afterlife beliefs and demographic variables, three factors emerge as most strongly related to fear of death:

* being somewhat religious (compared to “very religious” and “not at all religious”)
* believing that death is the end
* belief in the existence of hell

When gender, employment, age, education and marital status are taken into account, [low] income emerges as the only demographic factor significantly related to fear of death and as a strong predictor of being afraid to think about it."

AARP, June 2007
They also made a follow up:

"To begin, we found that people 50 and over tend to be downright conventional in their basic beliefs: nearly three quarters (73 percent) agree with the statement “I believe in life after death.” Women are a lot more likely to believe in an afterlife (80 percent) than men (64 percent).


Believers show general agreement over the choice of destinations in the afterlife, as well: 86 percent say there’s a Heaven, while somewhat fewer (70 percent) believe in Hell.


A lot believe there will be sex in the afterlife,


[T]he richer people are, the less likely they are to believe there’s a Heaven. Among those with a household income of $75,000 or more per year, 78 percent believe in Heaven—compared with 90 percent of those earning $25,000 or less. Similarly, 77 percent of college-educated people think there’s a Heaven, compared with 89 percent of those who have a high school diploma or less."

AARP, September & October 2007
More in the article (can't quote it all!.)

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