How religious is your state?

There are many potential ways of defining what it means to be religious, but for the purposes of this analysis, we looked at four common measures of religious observance: worship attendance, prayer frequency, belief in God and the self-described importance of religion in one’s life. The interactive tool above allows you to rank the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia by each of these measures – and by the percentage of adults in each state who are “highly religious” overall.

What does it mean to be “highly religious”? In our analysis, this includes any adult who reports at least two of four highly observant behaviors – attending religious services at least weekly, praying at least daily, believing in God with absolute certainty and saying that religion is very important to them — while not reporting a low level of religious observance in any of these areas, such as seldom or never attending religious services, seldom or never praying, not believing in God and saying that religion is “not too” or “not at all” important in their life. We also define a person as “highly religious” if they report three highly religious behaviors and a low level of religiosity on a fourth measure.

In Alabama and Mississippi, 77% of residents are highly religious by this definition. In both states, for instance, 82% believe in God with absolute certainty. In addition, three-quarters of Mississippians say they pray at least once a day and 77% of Alabama residents say religion is very important in their lives.

Meanwhile, only about a third of people in New Hampshire (33%), Massachusetts (33%), Vermont (34%) and Maine (34%) qualify as highly religious by these criteria. Roughly one-in-five residents of these states report attending religious services at least weekly, and roughly half or fewer say they are certain of God’s existence.

 

% of adults who are “highly religious”
1. Alabama 77%
1. Mississippi 77%
3. Tennessee 73%
4. Louisiana 71%
5. Arkansas 70%
5. South Carolina 70%
7. West Virginia 69%
8. Oklahoma 66%
8. Georgia 66%
10. North Carolina 65%
11. Texas 64%
11. Utah 64%
13. Kentucky 63%
14. Virginia 61%
15. Missouri 60%
16. South Dakota 59%
17. Ohio 58%
18. New Mexico 57%
19. Iowa 55%
19. Kansas 55%
19. New Jersey 55%
22. Indiana 54%
22. Wyoming 54%
22. Florida 54%
22. Maryland 54%
22. Nebraska 54%
27. Michigan 53%
27. Pennsylvania 53%
27. Arizona 53%
27. District of Columbia 53%
27. North Dakota 53%
32. Delaware 52%
33. Illinois 51%
33. Idaho 51%
35. California 49%
35. Nevada 49%
35. Minnesota 49%
35. Rhode Island 49%
39. Montana 48%
39. Oregon 48%
41. Hawaii 47%
41. Colorado 47%
43. New York 46%
44. Washington 45%
44. Alaska 45%
44. Wisconsin 45%
47. Connecticut 43%
48. Maine 34%
48. Vermont 34%
50. New Hampshire 33%
50. Massachusetts 33%

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