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Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Saturday, July 30, 2016

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South tops most religious region
Catholic News Service


The South is the most religious region of the United States. Mississippi qualified as the most religious state, with 59 percent of its residents claiming to be “very religious.” Next on the list was the only non-Southern state among the top 12: Utah, where 57 percent of its people say they are very religious.

Placing third overall was Alabama, with 56 percent of its residents claiming to be very religious. The only state in the top 12 with a significant Catholic population was Louisiana, ranking fourth in Gallup’s poll, with 54 percent in the state saying they are very religious.
Ranking fifth through 12th were Arkansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas and Kentucky. The percentage of those who said they were very religious in these states ranged from 54 percent for Arkansas to 47 percent for Kentucky.

The states with the smallest percentages of people who said they were very religious were New Hampshire and Vermont, with 23 percent each. But Vermont had a higher percentage (58) reporting that they were “nonreligious” than New Hampshire (52); these were the only states where more than half of the population said they were nonreligious.

Just ahead of these two states, those with the least religious population were, in ascending order, Maine, Massachusetts, Alaska, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, Connecticut, the District of Columbia and New York. The percentages of those who said they very religious in those states ranged from 25 percent for Maine to 32 percent for New York.

In Rhode Island, the nation’s only Catholic-majority state, 32 percent of the population said they are very religious, 31 percent said they were moderately religious and 37 percent said they were nonreligious. Other states in the top 10 in terms of percentage of Catholic residents include Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Nevada and New Hampshire.

Overall, Gallup classifies 40 percent of Americans as very religious, meaning that religion is “an important part of their daily life” and that they attend religious services “every week or almost every week.” Another 28 percent nationwide are “moderately religious,” meaning that for them religion is important but they do not attend services, or that they attend services but do not consider religion important.

The remaining 32 percent of the U.S. population are nonreligious, meaning that religion is not an important part of their life and that they seldom or never attend services.





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