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Open Access Open Badges Research article

The variables related to public acceptance of evolution in the United States

Benjamin C Heddy1* and Louis S Nadelson2

Author Affiliations

1 University of Southern California, 3470 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA

2 Boise State University, 1910 University Drive, Boise, Idaho, 83725, USA

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Evolution: Education and Outreach 2013, 6:3  doi:10.1186/1936-6434-6-3

Published: 26 March 2013



The current study explores variables related to public acceptance of evolution in the United States by state. Data on acceptance of evolution, religiosity, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degree attainment, educational attainment, high school dropout rate, average teacher salary, and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita were analyzed for the 50 states.


Employing secondary data analysis, bivariate correlations were used to investigate the relationship between US acceptance of evolution and each variable.


As predicted, there was a strong negative correlation between acceptance of evolution and religiosity and a strong positive relationship between acceptance and science degrees awarded, bachelor degree attainment, advanced degree attainment, average teacher salary, and GDP per capita.


Several implications for evolution education and acceptance are discussed.