Most and Least Religious States in America

Mississippi is the most religious U.S. state, and is one of eight states where Gallup classifies at least half of the residents as “very religious.” At the other end of the spectrum, Vermont and New Hampshire are the least religious states, and are two of the five states — along with Maine, Massachusetts, and Alaska — where less than 30% of all residents are very religious.

Gallup classifies 40 percent of Americans nationwide as very religious — based on their statement that religion is an important part of their daily life and that they attend religious services every week or almost every week. Another 32% of Americans are nonreligious, based on their statement that religion is not an important part of their daily life and that they seldom or never attend religious services. The remaining 28 percent of Americans are moderately religious, because they say religion is important but that they do not attend services regularly or because they say religion is not important but still attend services.

Religiosity varies widely across U.S. states and regions, with Mississippi in the deep South and Vermont in New England providing the most extreme example of the disparity. Fifty-nine percent of Mississippians are very religious and 11% nonreligious, while 23 percent of Vermonters are very religious and 58 percent are nonreligious. Although New Hampshire ties Vermont with 23 percent of its residents classified as very religious, slightly fewer (52 percent) residents in the Granite State are classified as nonreligious.

More generally, eight of the 10 most religious states in 2011 are in the South (Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia), with one straddling the line between the South and the Midwest (Oklahoma), and one in the West (Utah). None of the most religious states are in the Middle Atlantic, New England, or West Coast regions.

By contrast, six of the least religious states in 2011 are in New England (Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island) and four are in the West (Alaska, Oregon, Nevada, and Washington), with the District of Columbia and New York rounding out the list.

These state-by-state patterns in religiousness have remained stable in recent years. Southern states have traditionally been the most religious, and states in New England and in the West have been the least religious.

via Most and Least Religious States in America.

I live in the Bible Belt. And it hurts. My state is the sixth most religious state in the country, according to this article. I’m surprised it’s not higher. Although I view myself as spiritual and even religious (I attend services irregularly), I HATE living in the Bible Belt, where if you’re not a Red State Bible thumper, you may as well be a leper. I think it’s appalling and I miss the diversity that Los Angeles provided me when I lived there. Oh well. I don’t think I could take Vermont’s winters, but Portland and Seattle are sounding attractive right now….

4 thoughts on “Most and Least Religious States in America

  1. Unfortunately, I live in Georgia, and it’s not much better here. Granted Atlanta is a bit of an oasis, but the rest of the state has always dictated what happens at the capitol. After all, instead of having a rational water conservation strategy, we pray for rain (yes, the government did this) and tried to redraw our northern border in order to get access to another river to drink up. The Bible Belt should probably be named “States of Insanity.”


    1. I lived down on St Simons Island for a couple of years, so I remember Georgia all too well. Not too dissimilar from Tennessee. And I’m on the border of that water skirmish. It’s just bizarre, all of it, everything. You wouldn’t believe the bumper stickers you see in this town! I really miss L.A. sometimes….


  2. southernhon

    As someone who grew up in a nonreligious state, it really is shocking to note the cultural differences here in Tennessee. You’d just never see certain things, such as the majority of diners praying before eating at a restaurant, for example. Prayer and the Bible are thrown around regularly in conversation.

    Interestingly, I do believe this poll should have specified “Christian” because we all know that is the predominant religious belief in most of these religious states.


    1. Yeah, it should definitely have said “Christian,” because you’re exactly right. There’s a Christian South, and then the rest of the country. As someone who has spent nearly 20 years living in the South, it’s still weird to see everyone praying before eating while out at restaurants. Bizarre…


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