Mississippi and Alabama are America's most Protestant states

Published 07 February 2014  |  
(Photo: Anderson Matsumura)
New York is home to more Jews than any other state in the US

Mississippi and Alabama are the US states with the largest populations of Protestants, according to a new Gallup poll.

Rhode Island has the highest Catholic population out of any state, while Utah unsurprisingly is home to the most Mormons, and New York the most Jews.

Gallup interviewed 178,000 adults through 2013, with at least 500 interviews in each state, and 447 in the District of Columbia.

The poll asked: "What is your religious preference: are you Protestant, Roman Catholic, Mormon, Jewish, Muslim, another religion, or no religion?"

If respondents answer other, due to the plethora of other denominations within the Church, they are then asked "Is that a Christian or a non-Christian religion?"

Overall, across the entire US Protestants accounted for the single largest faith group, with 50.8% of the population. Just under a quarter (24%) define themselves as Catholic, while 15% identify with no religious group.

Breaking those numbers down state by state, 77% of both Mississippi and Alabama's population identify as Protestant, followed closely by Arkansas and Tennessee with 76%, South Carolina with 74%, and Oklahoma with 72%.

The state with the fewest Protestants is Utah, with only 11%. It is an anomaly in the region as all the states bordering it have between 38% and 48% Protestant.

Utah scores very highly on Mormonism, the religion which 60% of its population adheres too.

Not only is this an anomaly in the region, it is an anomaly for the country. The second most Mormon state in the US is Utah's northern neighbour Idaho, but only 24% of the population there accept Joseph Smith as a prophet.

The most Catholic state in the US is Rhode Island, with 54%, followed by New Jersey, with 44% of its population labelling itself as Catholic. Massachusetts and Connecticut are both 40% Catholic, and New York has 37%.

The states with the smallest percentage of Catholics are also the ones with the largest numbers of Protestants. Mississippi and Alabama are only 7.5% Catholic.

Conversely, Rhode Island and New Jersey have the second and third smallest Protestant populations, with 20% and 29% respectively.

When counting those who express no religious affiliation, Oregon comes out on top with 27%. Vermont is second with 25% and Washington comes third with 23%.

It seems the most Protestant states are also the least non-religious, with only 7% of Mississippi citizens declaring themselves to be without religious affiliation.

The most Jewish states are all to be found in the North East of the US, with New York at 7%, New Jersey at 5%, and Massachusetts and the District of Columbia at 4% each.

Overall, the data points to the general trends in US religiosity remaining fairly stable. A strongly protestant South Eastern region, a Catholic North East with a distinctive Jewish minority, with the demographic anomaly that is Utah carrying the flag for Mormonism in the west.

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