(Photo: Reuters/Tami Chappell)
An annual Gallup poll testing the religiosity of U.S. states found that Mississippi and Utah maintain their spots as the first and second most religious states for the third consecutive year, while Vermont and neighboring New England states continue to be the least religious in the nation.
Results from the 2013 state-by-state poll are similar to previous years, as Gallup has been tallying the religiosity of each U.S. state since 2008. This year's results found that the southern states, with the exception of Utah, continue to be the most religious while the New England and western states continue to be the least religious.
Mississippi was named the most religious state this year with 61 percent of its residents classifying themselves as "very religious," meaning they consider religion to be an important part of their daily lives and they attend a religious service once a week or almost once a week. Coming in second behind Mississippi is Utah with 60 percent of its residents being "very religious." The majority of people living in Utah identify with the Mormon faith. Third on the "most religious" list is Alabama with 57 percent, trailed by Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia.
On the other side of the spectrum, Vermont is the least religious state in the U.S. with only 22 percent of its residents saying they are "very religious." The trend for "least religious" states continues with New England and western-area states, as New Hampshire and Maine come in second and third at 24 percent and 27 percent, respectively. Massachusetts follows as fourth, and the western state of Oregon comes in as the fifth least religious state with only 31 percent of its residents describing themselves as "very religious."
A press release issued by Frank Newport, Gallup's editor-in-chief, states that each of the poll's three categories, "very religious," "somewhat religious," and "nonreligious" have remained "generally stable" since 2008.
"The United States remains a religious nation with about seven in 10 Americans classified as very or moderately religious – and the nation's residents as a whole are about as religious now as they were in 2008," the Gallup report says.
The poll, released Feb. 3, found that overall, the percentage of "very religious" people in the U.S. is slightly higher than in previous years at 41.4 percent, while the percentage of "nonreligious" U.S. residents is slightly lower in 2013 at 29.4 percent than in any other previous year.