Which State is the “Most Religious”?

Which is the most religious state in the United States? My guess was Utah which, as it turns out, is #2. The most religious state, based on self-identification as “Very Religious”, was my second guess, Mississippi.

I don’t find religion particularly threatening but I find the particular style that religiosity takes in most of the states in the top ten concerning. But not at all surprising.

Before you leap to a Red State/Blue State conclusion I think it’s also worth mentioning that the list of “most religious states” maps pretty well to the states with the highest African American populations and the list of “least religious states” maps pretty well to the states with the lowest African American populations so the connecting link between votes and religion is blurry to say the least.

There are two exceptions: Utah (among “most religious”) and the District of Columbia (among “least religious”). There’s something to think about.

9 comments… add one
  • ... Link

    From an earlier era:

    It is treason against the nation to take away its dreams. For my part, I admit I have known but one God. The God of all the world and of justice. The man in the fields adds to this conception that of a man who works, whom he makes sacred because his youth, his manhood, and his old age owe to the priest their little moments of happiness. When a man is poor and wretched, his soul grows tender, and he clings especially to whatever seems majestic: leave him his illusions— teach him if you will . . . but do not let the poor fear that they may lose the one thing that binds them to earth, since wealth cannot bind them.

  • PD Shaw Link

    I would have guessed Oregon as the least religious state, partly because I looked up some measurement a few weeks that indicated it was. That was to help explain to an Oregonite that his expectations of public policy on religious freedom issues are not in the U.S. mainstream (not a claim of wrong or right).

    That said, I would have thought Illinois would be more religious than that poll shows. The mandatory moment of silence or prayer was passed in 2007 with African-American leadership (over Blago’s veto). The state, at least until recently, has tended to have generous religious exemptions, either because of religious influence or leadership has decided it was never worth any fight.

  • Jimbino Link

    From my viewpoint here in religious Texas, the State of Oklahoma is deathly religious and with a low population of Blacks. It is, after all, the western anchor of the Bible Belt.

  • I also would have guessed Utah. I guess the expansion of Salt Lake City and all of the heathens that their tech corridor is attracting is having an effect. It’s also the case that heavy Mormonism can encourage atheism and agnosticism within the gentile population. I know that I was more religious going into Mormonland than I was when I left it.

  • Jimbino Link

    I wonder how this “religiousity” is defined. To me, places like Munich and Prague can be considered religious on account of their dedication to maintain church taxes and cathedrals. I do know, however, that the Czech Republic is among the most irreligious of countries.

    The offensive part of religiosity in the USSA is the drive of the religious to control my sex, drug and R&R life. New Hampshire, for example, while surely not counted among the “religious,” still controls my drinking life by maintaining state-controlled liquor stores. Otherwise, it seems to count among the most libertarian of states.

    The least religious states, at least to me, are those like Colorado and Washington, who permit pot growing and show tolerance to gays. Going on the assumption that the offensive part of religion is the drive to invade and control the intimate lives of others, the Muslim countries win hands-down. But right after them come places like New York and Illinois that are replete with laws and regulations that invade evcry corner of your personal and business life.

    Indeed, that most-Roman-Catholic country Brazil is least religious in attempting to control your daily life, whether of sex, drugs, film, music and so on.

  • TastyBits Link


    You should have moved to NOLA years ago.

  • TastyBits Link


    I found the quote in “Danton: A Study” by Hilaire Belloc. I got the ebook, and I am going to add it to my Nook. I am not sure when (or if) I will get to it.

    Is this the right one?

  • PD Shaw Link

    Jimbino, a lot of the state run liquor stores are in the Northwest and New England,* so it would not have occurred to me that they are religious policies. I suspect that some state cultures foster social values that might resemble religion, but are not religious in their basis.

    * Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oregon, Vermont, Wyoming and until recently Washington.

  • ... Link

    Danton, that’s it. I had highlighted the quote on my blog a while back, but forgot to reference the source.

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