The Most Religious U.S. State Is ...

//
Worshipers pray inside St. Clare Catholic Church, in Waveland, Miss., which was completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and then rebuilt.
Getty Images

Mississippi holds onto its title as most religious U.S. state, with 58 percent of its residents saying they are very religious, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday (Feb. 13).

The least religious state? Vermont.

About 40 percent of Americans said they were "very religious," meaning religion is an important part of their daily life and that they attend religious services every week or nearly every week. Some 31 percent indicated they were nonreligious, or that religion wasn't an important part of their daily life and they seldom or never attend such services.

The 10 most and least religious states remained relatively constant from the 2011 numbers, with the only change being the inclusion of Hawaii in the least religious list in place of New York. [See full list of U.S. states and religiosity]

As expected, the South dominated the "most religious" list, while the 12 least religious states were located in New England. For instance, while just 14 percent of Alabama residents indicated they were nonreligious, 50 percent of those in New Hampshire said the same. (In addition to very religious and nonreligious, Gallup also had a "moderately religious" category.) Utah, which has a large Mormon population, and Oklahoma, which straddles the border between the South and the Midwest, were the only exceptions to the dominantly Southern states in the top 10 list.

Top 10 most religious states

  • Mississippi: 58 percent are very religious
  • Utah: 56 percent
  • Alabama: 56 percent
  • Louisiana: 53 percent
  • Arkansas: 52 percent
  • South Carolina: 52 percent
  • Tennessee: 50 percent
  • North Carolina: 50 percent
  • Georgia: 48 percent
  • Oklahoma: 48 percent

Bottom 10 (least religious states)

  • Vermont: 19 percent are very religious
  • New Hampshire: 23 percent
  • Maine: 24 percent
  • Massachusetts: 27 percent
  • Oregon: 29 percent
  • Rhode Island: 29 percent
  • District of Columbia: 30 percent
  • Washington (tie): 31 percent
  • Connecticut (tie): 31 percent
  • Alaska (tie): 31 percent
  • Hawaii (tie): 31 percent
  • Nevada (tie): 31 percent

The differences in religiosity across the United States may not be the result of underlying demographics (race or ethnicity) or religious identities (Catholic or Protestant majorities, for instance), but rather part of a state-level cultural phenomenon.