Gallup: Mississippi Most Religious US State, Vermont Least

Monday, 03 Feb 2014 06:59 PM

By Cathy Burke

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More than four in 10 Americans consider themselves "very religious," a Gallup poll released Monday shows, and Mississippi, — where 61 percent describe themselves that way — tops the list of states.

On the other side of the spectrum, Vermont, with just 22 percent saying they're very religious, is the nation's least religious state, Gallup found.

The results were not a surprise in that the poll revealed the place of religion in the lives of Americans in 2013 has changed little since 2008, when Gallup first began to tally it.

"The United States remains a religious nation with about seven in 10 Americans classified as very or moderately religious — and the nation's residents as a whole are about as religious now as they were in 2008," a poll analysis said.

"The most religious areas continue to be the South, the state of Utah, and the Midwestern Plains states, while the least religious areas are mostly in New England, the Pacific Northwest, and other Western states."

The poll noted that 10 of the 11 most religious states in 2013 were in the South, with the exception of Utah, where a majority of its residents identify as Mormons, "the most religious of any major religious group in the country."

The 10 least religious states in 2013 are from two areas — New England and the West — plus the District of Columbia, the analysis noted, with the New England states of Vermont and New Hampshire continuing "to be the least religious states in the union."

According to the poll, the most religious states, after Mississippi, were Utah, with 60 percent saying they were very religious; Alabama, with 57 percent; Louisiana, 56 percent; South Carolina, 54 percent; Tennessee, 54 percent; Georgia, 52 percent; Arkansas, 51 percent; North Carolina, 50 percent; and Oklahoma and Kentucky, each with 49 percent.

The least religious states, after Vermont, were New Hampshire, with 24 percent saying they were very religious; Maine, 27 percent; Massachusetts, 28 percent; Oregon, 31 percent; and Nevada, Washington, Connecticut, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia each with 32 percent saying they were very religious.

The poll classified respondents as very religious if they said religion was an important part of their daily lives and they attended religious services every week or almost every week. The poll found that 41 percent of Americans fit this classification in 2013.

Also, 29.4 percent of Americans were nonreligious, saying religion wasn't an important part of their daily lives and that they seldom or never attended religious services.

The remaining 29.2 percent were classified as moderately religious, saying religion was  important in their lives but they did not attend services regularly — or conversely, that religion wasn't important but that they still attended services.

The percentage of "very religious" was slightly higher in 2013 than in 2012, 2011, and 2008, while the percentage of nonreligious Americans was slightly lower in 2013 than in previous years. The poll noted, though "the broad pattern has remained similar year after year."

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