What does Mississippi have to say to Vermont? Not much when it comes to the religiosity of their citizens.
Every year since 2008 Gallup has conducted interviews and polls in order to gauge the religious appetites of Americans according to state. The findings from 2013 fall in line with previous years, with Mississippi representing the Godly south coming in as the most religious state, and Vermont representing the heathen Northeast coming in last.
For now, though, Gallup's results show the states largely divided north-south on religiosity. Here are the 10 most and least religious states in 2013.
Based on more than 174,000 interviews, the Gallup poll measurs religiosity by how important respondents said religion was in their lives and how frequently they attended religious services. "Very religious" was characterized by those who went to religious services every week, or thereabouts, and said religion was very important to them.
In 2013, 41% of Americans fit this description, while 29% said they were non-religious. Based on Gallup's survey, those who claim some degree of religious affiliation still make up the majority in the U.S., but the gap seems to be steadily closing.
One interesting point that Gallup's results highlight is the radical variation of religiosity from state to state, and this difference remains largely static regardless of other identity factors. From Gallup's website:
Additionally, although states vary significantly in their racial and ethnic composition, differences in religiosity between states persist even among residents of the same races. Whites in Mississippi are more religious than whites in Vermont, and blacks in New England are less religious than blacks in the South.
Mike Hout, a UC Berkeley sociologist who spearheaded a similar study last year, remarked on the rising "trend of Americans disavowing a specific religious affiliation that has accelerated greatly since 1990." He also noted that even though western and northeastern states were among the least religious, "Midwesterners and Southerners are catching up."