The U.S. South remains the undisputed “Bible Belt” of America and Mississippi is its buckle, according to a new bit of number crunching from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. You can see the interactive report here.
Pew has attempted a state-by-state ranking of U.S. religiosity using four measures that draw on polling data: the importance of religion in people’s lives, frequency of attendance at worship services, frequency of prayer and absolute certainty of belief in God.
Mississippi tops all four rankings with 82 percent of its adult population saying religion is very important in their lives. In fact, the top 10 states by this measure are all in the South (some would say nine out of 10 as it includes Oklahoma. But many analysts lump Oklahoma in the southern category based on its politics and culture as well as its geography as it shares borders with Texas and Arkansas.)
On frequency of worship practice, Utah — the Mormon heartland — ranked number two with 57 percent of adults there saying they attend religious services at least once a week. Kansas was number 10 here but the other states were all Southern.
In the category of absolute certainty in the belief of God, New Hampshire and Vermont were rock bottom at 54 percent. But the national average here was 71 percent.