7% of Brazilians Believe that Earth Is Flat

Belief is greatest among those who didn't finish high school and christians on social media

Rafael Garcia
São Paulo

Seven percent of Brazilians believe that Earth is flat, according to a survey conducted by the Datafolha Institute earlier this month. The survey had 2,086 respondents over 16 years of age in 103 cities across the country and was the first to estimate how many in the country doubt the planet is spherical - about 11 million people.

Ninety percent of those interviewed claimed to believe that the Earth was round and the rest said they did not know their form. The belief that the Earth is flat was inversely proportional to schooling. While 10% of those who left school after elementary school defend that Earth is flat, this percentage decreases among those who studied until they finished high school (6%) or higher (3%).

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Despite being a minority in Brazil, in absolute terms, it is difficult to classify the group as small, since belief requires the negation of one of the fundamental principles of geography, repeatedly confirmed by observations and experiments for more than two millennia.

The Brazilian number, however, is in line with a survey conducted last year in the United States, where the flat-earth movement has gained momentum in recent years. Although the difference in methodology makes comparisons difficult, this other survey, conducted by YouGov, concluded that 2% of Americans believe in a flat Earth and 5% have doubts about the planet's sphericity. Young people under 25 were twice as likely to believe in this.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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