Across America, states and regions differ in terms of their cultures, foods and accents. But one of the biggest distinguishing features is how religion impacts the people of each place.
While religion is widespread across the country, the share of adults for whom religion is extremely important to their lives varies greatly between states. In the most religious state, 77% of the population are highly religious compared with 33% in the least religious.
> Adults who are “highly” religious: 33%
> Pct. of adults who pray daily: 37%
> Change, nonreligious share of population: +15 ppts
Massachusetts is home to one of the least religious populations in the country. Only 33% of Massachusetts residents say religion is important in their lives. While nearly 79% of adults considered themselves religious in 2007, only 65% felt the same in 2014. The number of nonreligious adults increased 15 percentage points in that same period.
While evangelical Christians are the most prominent religious group nationwide, only 9% of Massachusetts residents identify as such. Despite having one of the least religious populations in the U.S., the state is home to one of the largest Catholic populations in the nation thanks to the Irish and Italian roots of many of its people.
Christianity is by far the most common religion in the United States, with 70% of Americans identifying as Christian. To break it down further, 25% or Americans are evangelical, 21% are Catholic, 15% are mainline Protestant, and 6% are Protestant. States that are more evangelical tend to be more deeply religious overall.
Despite the high levels of Christianity, the fastest-growing religious affiliation is actually no religion at all. The percentage of adults who are religiously unaffiliated adults grew in every state except for one, and it was the fastest growing ideology in almost every state for which there was data.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed a 2014 Pew Research Center survey of all 50 states and their religious makeup. Using data from Pew, 24/7 Wall St. ranked states based on how highly religious their populations are. The study also determined the importance of religion residents’ lives, worship attendance, frequency of prayer, and the belief in God.
To identify the most and least religious states, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a 2014 Pew Research Center survey of all 50 states and their religious makeup. Using data from Pew, 24/7 Wall St. ranked states based on how highly religious their populations are. Religion’s importance in one’s life, worship attendance, frequency of prayer, and the belief in God were also used in the determination. Trends were determined by comparing the percentage of adherents to the religion in a previous survey conducted in 2007. Pew surveyed more than 35,000 Americans. 24/7 Wall st. reviewed median age and the percentage of residents 65 and over from the American Community Survey.