Just one in five Amercians believe in natural evolution as proposed by Charles Darwin (wiki commons)

Almost 40% of Americans believe God created human beings within the last 10,000 years - double the number who believe in evolution.

A YouGov poll has shown that 116 million people in the US (37%) believe "God created human beings in their present form within the last 10,000 years".

Just 21% believe humans evolved from less advanced lifeforms over millions of years that had nothing to do with God.

A further 25% say that "human beings evolved from less advanced lifeforms over millions of years but God guided this process". In total, 46% - less than half - believe in some form of evolution.

The number of Americans who believe in natural evolution has increased by 8% since 2004. A CBS poll nine years ago found that just 13% believed in evolution without God.

The findings were released in the week marking the 88th anniversary of the famous Scopes Trial, in which Tennessee teacher John Scopes was found guilty of teaching evolution.

The trial became a focal point in the battle between religious fundamentalists, who believe in creationism, and modernists, who believed in the theory of evolution. In the wake of the trial, and the overturning of his conviction, support for evolution became more common.

However, teaching evolution remains contentious. In 1987, a Supreme Court ruling said that teaching creationism violated the Establishment Clause of the Constitution because it advanced a specific religion. Eight years later, a federal court ruled that teaching intelligent design, which accepts some sort of creator, also violated Establishment Clause.

However, some states still require students to "critically analyse" aspects of the evolutionary theory, which allows both beliefs to be taught.

Some 57% of Republicans were in favour of teaching creationism and intelligent design, compared to 30% of Democrats. People who did not finish high school were more likely to be in favour compared with college graduates (46% to 39%), as were people in the South and West of the US compared to the Northeast and Midwest.

Just 2% of atheists were in favour of creationism and intelligent design being taught, compared with 83% who opposed it, while 76% of Mormons said it should be part of a child's education.