By Lisa Cannon Green
The Bible Belt remains buckled firmly across the American South, even as the nation as a whole becomes less religious, a new Gallup survey shows.
For the 10th year in a row, Mississippi ranks as the nation’s most religious state in 2017, with 59 percent of residents considered “very religious.”
That label fits 45 percent of people in the Southwest and 43 percent of those in the Southeast—they say religion is important to them, and they attend services frequently, Gallup reports.
In contrast, only 26 percent of New Englanders and 29 percent of those in the Pacific region are very religious, Gallup says.
At the bottom of the list, in Vermont, 16 percent of residents are very religious.
Protestantism is a major factor in the regional differences, according to Gallup.
“In the Southeast and Southwest, large percentages of Protestants, especially black Protestants, are very religious,” Gallup says. “All of the states in these regions are more religious than any of the states in New England and the Pacific, where residents remain the least religious in the nation.”
“While the percentage of all Americans who are very religious has shrunk over the past decade, the differences in religiousness between the regions have held firm, with no indication that these regional differences will change in the near future,” Gallup says.
Nine of the 11 most religious states in the nation are in the South, Gallup says. Here’s the full ranking from Gallup for 2017.
|State||% very religious|
|District of Columbia||28|
LISA CANNON GREEN (@lisacgreen) is senior editor of Facts & Trends.