Gallup Poll: Do You Live in a State of Grace?

Thursday, 29 Mar 2012 02:52 PM

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Mississippi ranks as the most religious state in the nation, while Vermont and New Hampshire tend toward the other end of the faithful spectrum. America’s most fervent believers can be found mostly in the South and the least religious, in the Northeast, a new Gallup poll reveals.

In Mississippi, 59 percent of those polled describe themselves as very religious, followed by Utah with 57 percent; Alabama, 56 percent; Louisiana, Arkansas, and South Carolina, all at 54 percent; Tennessee, 52 percent; North Carolina; 50 percent; and Georgia and Oklahoma at 48 percent.

Just 23 percent of those polled in Vermont and New Hampshire describe themselves as very religious. Those two states are followed by Maine, with 25 percent, Massachusetts and Alaska at 28 percent, Oregon, Nevada and Washington at 30 percent, Connecticut at 31 percent and the District of Columbia, New York, and Rhode Island at 32 percent.

“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,” Gallup reported. “Fifty-nine percent of Mississippians are very religious and 11 percent 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.”

State-by-state patterns in religiosity have remain stable in recent years, with Southern states more religious and states in New England and in the West the least religious, Gallup’s analysis noted.

“Gallup research has shown that these state differences appear to be part of a ‘state culture’ phenomenon, and are not the result of differences in the underlying demographics or religious identities in the states,” Gallup found.

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