Frequent Church Attendance Highest in Utah, Lowest in Vermont
by Frank Newport, Gallup, February 17, 2015 (excerpts)
...Ten of the 12 states with the highest self-reported religious service attendance are in the South, along with Utah and Oklahoma. The strong religious culture in the South reflects a variety of factors, including history, cultural norms and the fact that these states have high Protestant and black populations -- both of which are above average in their self-reported religious service attendance. Utah's No. 1 position on the list is a direct result of that state's 59% Mormon population, as Mormons have the highest religious service attendance of any major religious group in the U.S.
Five of the six New England states rank among the bottom 10 states for church attendance. Of these, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts have the lowest average attendance rates in the nation, with Connecticut not far behind. All other states in the bottom 10 are in the West, including the nation's three states that are as far as one can go in the northwest corner of the country -- Alaska, Washington and Oregon. States with average religious service attendance tend to cluster in the middle of the country....
The state-by-state variations in church attendance are significant because attendance is a powerful indicator of underlying religiosity, which in turn is related to Americans' views on life, culture, society in general and politics. For most segments of U.S. society -- blacks being the exception -- those who are the most religious are also most likely to be Republican, which helps explain the significant relationship between states with the highest church attendance and those that are traditionally red states. Church attendance also provides ties that bind members to their communities, and research shows that at the individual level, those who are most religious have higher well-being than those who are less religious....
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