America’s Most and Least Religious States

by InvestorPlace Staff | March 29, 2012 10:39 am

As if this month’s result of the Mississippi Republican primary, won by religious conservative Rick Santorum, wasn’t enough to convince anyone, the results of a recent Gallup poll[1] on religion may serve as formal confirmation:

Mississippi is the most religious state in the Union, with 59% of the Magnolia State’s residents polled identifying themselves as “very religious.”

At the other end of the ledger, it turns out that Vermont is the least religious state, with only 23% checking the “very religious” box.

As one might expect, while religiosity varies across the United States, patterns emerged along very specific regions:

Seven of the 10 most religious states are found in the South:

Six of the least religious states are found in the Northeast:

The breakdown in regional differences continues a pattern of stability, as the “Bible Belt” Southern states have historically been the most religious, with the Northeast and West the least religious.

Religion seems to also play a role in political views, as the most religious states tend to lean toward the Republican Party, while the least religious form the backbone of the Democratic Party.

In addition, differences appear to be based on a “state culture” ideal, where the culture and structure of a state influences not necessarily its peoples’ religious beliefs, but religious practices, where attending religious service and indicating the importance of religion in daily life is important.

Overall, America in general is viewed as a religious nation, with more then two-thirds of those polled across the U.S. classifying themselves as “very” or “moderately” religious.

Want to know where your state stands in relation to the rest of the nation? A state-by-state breakdown of religiosity measures and Gallup’s methodology can be found here.[2]

– Marc Bastow, InvestorPlace Assistant Editor

Endnotes:
  1. recent Gallup poll: http://www.gallup.com/poll/153479/Mississippi-Religious-State.aspx
  2. A state-by-state breakdown of religiosity measures and Gallup’s methodology can be found here.: http://www.gallup.com/poll/153479/Mississippi-Religious-State.aspx

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