Mississippi is still the most religious of all 50 states, with 58 percent of those surveyed being "very religious," according to a Gallup Poll released on Wednesday
. Just 19 percent of respondents from Vermont are "very religious," making it the least religious state in the union.
Mississippi and Vermont ranked about the same in an identical survey released last March, but since then both states saw a drop in those falling into the "very religious" category, by one percentage point in Mississippi and by four points in Vermont.
"The 2012 nationwide proportions of very religious, moderately religious, and nonreligious Americans are all within one percentage point of where they were in 2011," said Gallup's Frank Newport. "Underscoring this stability, a comparison of the top 10 religious states in 2012 with those in 2011 shows no change, either in the states that constitute the top 10 or in their rank order."
The survey was based on more than 348,000 phone interviews.
Ten of the 11 most religious states are in the South, while 8 of the 12 least religious states, which include the District of Columbia, are in the Northeast.
Utah, which is predominantly Mormon, comes in second behind Mississippi with 56 percent of respondents being characterized as "very religious."
Overall, 40 percent of Americans across the nation were classified as being very religious, based on their responses to what role religion plays in their daily life and how frequently they attend religious services.
The poll found that 31 percent of Americans were considered nonreligious, saying that religion was not an "important part of their daily life and that they seldom or never attend religious services."
The remaining 29 percent were moderately religious, saying either that religion was important but they didn't regularly attend services or that they attend religious services despite not considering religion important in their personal life.
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