Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

The sociodemographic correlates of conspiracism

Enders, Adam; Klofstad, Casey; Diekman, Amanda; Drochon, Hugo; Rogers de Waal, Joel; Littrell, Shane; Premaratne, Kamal; Verdear, Daniel; Wuchty, Stefan; Uscinski, Joseph

The sociodemographic correlates of conspiracism Thumbnail


Adam Enders

Casey Klofstad

Amanda Diekman

Joel Rogers de Waal

Shane Littrell

Kamal Premaratne

Daniel Verdear

Stefan Wuchty

Joseph Uscinski


Despite hundreds of studies examining belief in conspiracy theories, it is still unclear who—demographically—is most likely to believe such theories. To remedy this knowledge gap, we examine survey data containing various operationalizations of conspiracism across diverse sociopolitical contexts. Study 1 employs a 2021 U.S. survey (n = 2021) to examine associations between sociodemographic characteristics and beliefs in 39 conspiracy theories. Study 2 similarly employs a survey of 20 countries (n = 26,416) and 11 conspiracy theory beliefs. Study 3 reports results from a 2020 U.S. survey (n = 2015) measuring perceptions about which groups are engaging in conspiracies. Study 4 interrogates data from nine U.S. surveys (2012–2022; n = 14,334) to examine the relationships between sociodemographic characteristics and generalized conspiracy thinking. Study 5 synchronizes studies 1–4 to provide an intersectional analysis of conspiracy theory belief. Across studies, we observe remarkably consistent patterns: education, income, age (older), and White identification are negatively related to conspiracism, while Black identification is positively related. We conclude by discussing why conspiracy theories may appeal most to historically marginalized groups and how our findings can inform efforts to mitigate the negative effects of conspiracy theories.


Enders, A., Klofstad, C., Diekman, A., Drochon, H., Rogers de Waal, J., Littrell, S., …Uscinski, J. (2024). The sociodemographic correlates of conspiracism. Scientific Reports, 14(1), Article 14184.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 5, 2024
Online Publication Date Jun 20, 2024
Publication Date Jun 20, 2024
Deposit Date Jun 21, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jun 21, 2024
Journal Scientific Reports
Electronic ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 1
Article Number 14184
Keywords Conspiracy theory; Intersectionality; Gender; Race; Age; Income; Education
Public URL
Additional Information Received: 19 February 2024; Accepted: 5 June 2024; First Online: 20 June 2024; : The authors declare no competing interests.


You might also like

Downloadable Citations