A January 2009 Gallup poll on religiosity finds that the United States is generally a religious nation, though states of New England are the least religious and those in the South are the most religious.
Gallup asked some 355,334 respondents over the age of 18 the question: “Is religion an important part of your daily life?”
Overall, 65 percent of respondents answered in the affirmative. Mississippi respondents were the most likely to say religion is important, at 85 percent, while Vermont respondents were the lowest at 42 percent.
Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana and Arkansas were also listed as among the most religious states in the nation, while New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts were the least religious states.
Nevada and the Pacific Northwest states of Washington, Oregon, and Alaska also ranked low in religiosity, whereas the Dakotas and Utah ranked relatively high.
Gallup said it is difficult to answer why residents of some states are more likely than those of other states to report that religion is important in their lives.
“Differing religious traditions and denominations tend to dominate historically in specific states, and religious groups have significantly different patterns of religious intensity among their adherents,” Gallup said.
Differing racial and ethnic compositions are also associated with differing degrees of religiosity, while certain states could attract immigrants with specific types of religious intensity.
Gallup also suggested that differing “state cultures” could be a factor.
The survey claimed a sampling error for most states of plus or minus one percentage point, though the margin of error in less populated states was as high as plus or minus four percentage points.