Mississippians consider themselves “very religious.” Image courtesy of Creative Commons/Lokal_Profil

Mississippi still rules the religiosity rankings

(RNS) A new Gallup survey shows that a greater proportion of Mississippians counts themselves as "very religious" than people from any other state: 59 percent.

The Magnolia State has owned the top spot in the religiosity survey for the past nine years.

Following close behind in the 2016 poll: Alabama, with 56 percent, and heavily Mormon Utah, with 54 percent calling themselves very religious.

Vermont, with 21 percent placing themselves in the very religious category, came in last — a ranking it has maintained for nine of the past 10 years. Just in front of Vermont: Maine (23 percent) and Massachusetts (25 percent).

Since 2008, when Gallup started tracking religiosity state by state, the rankings have changed little, with Southern states and Utah dominating the top 10, and New England, Northwest and Mid-Atlantic states dominating the bottom.

Also since 2008, the percentage of Americans as a whole who consider themselves "very religious" — the most devout label respondents can assign themselves in the poll — has dipped to 38 percent, down from 41 percent.

At the same time, the proportion of Americans who describe themselves as nonreligious edged up, from 30 percent to 32 percent, according to Gallup.

Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport, summarizing the poll, writes that a state's religiosity is a product of its history and religious culture.

"These cultures can be self-sustaining and extend beyond the life of any one resident," he writes. "Persons moving to Mississippi may find themselves more likely to attend religious services because so many others are doing so, while persons moving to Vermont may be less inclined to attend because so few of their neighbors do."

Gallup conducted the poll of nearly 175,000 adults between January and December 2016. Its margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for most states, with a margin of error of no more than plus or minus 6 percentage points for any state.



  1. What an embarrassment for Mississippi, most deluded state. Hey Mississippi people, there’s no holy ghostie under your bedsheets and no god to dump your own errors onto. Get out and face the big real world.

  2. The general accusation from religious folks is that lack of religion or no belief in god leads to immoral, dystopian behavior, rootless societies with no values…

    But wait a minute…Mississippi is the most religious state, 59%, while Vermont is the least religious at 21% — but Mississippi is the poorest and one of the least educated states, with low health, high obesity, crime, etc. and of course their regressive views on race, LGBT and the environment. — Vermont, with it’s godlessness on the other hand, is highly educated, good health outcomes, low crime, liberal, open minded and a great place to live.

    Remember that, you godly types, the next time you accuse nonbelievers of immorality.

  3. They definitely do practice racism and classism religiously. And while for a time in the last Presidential election it was said Mississippi was in play, all six of their electoral votes went to a man so unfamiliar with his own religion he misidentified his favorite Bible book as “Two Corinthians” over a very pious woman.

  4. I don’t believe you know Clinton well enough to call her pious. Some politicians are chameleons and present false fronts. Trump however is an open book that reads FAKE! Sad!

  5. Good point. The poll just reflects what the respondents think of themselves, not what they actually are. Compare social statistics of the most religious to the least religious states and I bet the latter win.

  6. I know a lot more about Clinton than you think. Everything I said about her is factual.

  7. Religious states and religious countries tend to fare poorly on just about every measure of social well being.

  8. Yeah, Right Ben! We even have historic evidence of this: when comparing the economic prowess and social well-being of the US with all the former Soviet bloc countries, which were underwritten by Communist, anti-religion governments, it’s clear that those countries outstrip the US “on just about every measure of social well being.” That’s why those countries all have such difficulties controlling their borders because of the millions of Americans trying to get in!

  9. Communism was a very effective religion, Stalin was worshipped as much as any god. Same for Fascism.

  10. Very true! The numbers don’t lie, and secular countries and US states simply fare far better on all imaginable measures of societal well-being than ore religious countries and states.

    You want sky-high rates of crime, poverty, unhealthiness, STDs, teen pregnancy and church attendance? Move to the Southern US. You like drug wars in the streets and tons of Catholicism? Try Mexico or the Philippines. But if you want the good life, you gotta go to the capitols of atheism: New England, the Pacific Northwest, Scandinavia, Japan…


  11. Of course, that isn’t what I was saying at all. But you seem to be quite expert at telling me what I didn’t say. The 1917 Revolution in Russia merely exchanged one fascist, theocratic state– Orthodox Russia and the Czars– with another fascist, theocratic state– the Communist Russia of stalin and Kruschev, where the religion was communism. One set of oligarchs for another set.

    Here is a survey of studies on the subject. Please feel free to form your own conclusions.


    The link is problematic, so I will quote.

    One consistent assertion made by religious people is that if a society or country loses faith in God, or becomes secular, the results won’t be
    good. It is a theo-sociological claim: societies characterized by significant levels of belief in God are expected to fare much better than those without. And it is a claim that is easily testable. The results, however, indicate that the claim is unsupportable. For when we compare more secular countries with more religious countries, we actually find that – with the exception of suicide – the more secular fare markedly better than the more religious on standard measures of societal well-being (Zuckerman 2008; Crabtree 2005; Norris and Inglehart 2004). Admittedly, nations with atheistic dictatorships, such as Vietnam, formely-Communist Albania, or the former U.S.S.R., do miserably on various indicators of societal well-being. However, this
    is most likely due to the dictatorship element of the equation, and not the atheistic element. After all, nations led by religious
    dictatorships – such as Chile under Pinochet, Haiti under Duvalier, Spain under Franco, or modern-day Iran – also fare poorly, particularly concerning civil and human rights.

    As noted earlier, the most secular democracies in the world score very high on international indexes of happiness and well-being (Kamenev
    2006) and they have among lowest violent crime and homicide rates (Paul 2005). But there’s more. A perusal of any recent United Nations World Development Report reveals that when it comes to such things as
    life expectancy, infant mortality, economic equality, economic competitiveness, health care, standard of living, and education, it is the
    most secular democracies on earth that fare the best, doing much better than the most religious nations in the world (Zuckerman 2008;
    Norris and Inglehart 2004; Bruce 2003). Consider women’s equality and women’s rights: women fare much better in more secular countries
    when compared with women in more religious countries and that women’s equality is strongest in the world’s most secular democracies (Ingelhart et al. 2003; Inglehart and Norris 2003). And a UNICEF (2007)
    report found that the least religious nations on earth – such as Sweden and Holland – are simultaneously the best countries for the care and well-being of children. Of the top ten best countries in the world within which to be a mother, all are highly secular nations; of the bottom worst 10, all are highly religious (Save the Children, 2008). And the nations with the lowest levels of corruption are simultaneously among the most secular (Beit-Hallahmi 2009). When it comes to intolerance of
    racial or ethnic minorities, levels are lower in less religious countries, and higher in more religious countries (Gallup Poll 2009, April 7).
    Concerning environmental protection, secular nations fare much better
    than religious nations, with the most secular democracies on earth doing the most to enact strong and progressive laws and green programs (Germanwatch, 2008). According to one international ranking, the ‘‘greenest’’ countries in the world are simultaneously among the most secular (Reader’s Digest, 2009). Additionally, the nations that score the Atheism, Secularity, and Well-Being 959 a 2009 The Author Sociology Compass 3/6 (2009): 949–971, 10.1111/j.1751-9020.2009.00247.x Journal Compilation a 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd highest when it comes to the quality of political and civil liberties that their citizens enjoy tend to be among the most secular nations on earth (Nationmaster, 2009). As for reading and math skills and scientific literacy, it is again the more secular nations that fare the best (Lynn 2001; UNICEF, 2002). The most secular nations in the world are also the most peaceful, while the most religious nations are the least peaceful (Vision of Humanity, 2008). And according to the Legatum Prosperity Index (2009), secular nations are far more prosperous than religious nations.
    Finally, according to The Economist’s Quality of Life Index (2005), which takes into account multiple indicators of subjective well-being as well as objective determinants of quality of life, the ‘‘best’’ nations on earth are overwhelmingly among the most secular, while the ‘‘worst’’ are overwhelmingly among the most religious.

    Within the United States, we find similar patterns: the states with the highest rates of poverty tend to be among the most religious states in the nation, such as Mississippi and Tennessee, while the states with the lowest poverty rates tend to be among the most secular, such as New Hampshire and Hawaii (United States Census Bureau 2008).The states
    with the highest rates of obesity are among the most religious in the nations, while the states with the lowest rates of obesity are among the least religious (Calorielab.com 2008). And it is the more religious states that tend to have infant mortality rates higher than the national average, while the less religious states tend to have lower infant mortality rates (United States Census Bureau, 2005). Additionally, it is among the most religious states that one finds the highest rates of STDs
    (Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2007) and teen pregnancy (Guttmacher Institute, 2006). America’s Bible Belt also contains the lowest rates of college-educated adults, and of the states with the highest percentage of college educated adults, most are among the most secular in the country (United States Census Bureau, 2007).

    Evidently, a preponderance of people of faith in a given society is not necessarily beneficial, nor is a preponderance of atheists or secular
    people automatically deleterious. In fact, as I have tried to show, states and nations with a preponderance of nonreligious people actually fare better on most indicators of societal health than those without (Rees
    2009; Zuckerman 2008; Norris and Inglehart 2004).
    Of course, correlation is not causation. We cannot be sure that atheism and ⁄ or secularity directly cause positive societal outcomes. But we can be quite sure that atheism and ⁄ or secularity certainly do not hinder societal well-being, either.

  12. Utah is not among the poorest or least educated states, infarct it is in the top tear of states in many of those categories.

  13. Utah is not perfect, Utah is not 100% Mormon. but in most means that are used to measure the success of a state Utah does very well. Pornography is a week spot.

  14. I do a fair amount of work in Mississippi with state agencies and it is still without a doubt the most racist and segregated state in America. Their Christianity is still shot through and through with racism. Ordinary Mississippians who are Christians openly say racist stuff. Even among high up state agencies in Mississippi state officials are openly racist. Black Mississippians know which government offices will serve them and which ones won’t. And they know which areas of the state are still off-limits to them.

    Also, Christians in Mississippi passed one of the most anti-gay laws in America in 2016 in their thoroughly Christian state legislature. Among other egregious things, it made it legal for doctors to refuse to give medical care to gay people that are sick or injured or in need of surgery. Even in an emergency room they can refuse to treat a person that’s gay. As long as they don’t allow the person to die, they’re allowed to withhold care.

    So yeah, people might be the most religious in America but it’s made them into terrible human beings.

  15. You mean this ‘christian’ cult congress and its’ braindead followers, in this ‘Christian nation’, budgetless, $20Trillion in debt, savagely raping the treasury writing contracts to friends and family, in a death clinch ‘alliance’ with the Kings of institutionalized Wahhabi headchoppin suicidal terrorists, death merchants getting rich constantly making war for oil/gas/uranium etc under the disguise of Christ, “one nation under God… in God we trust..”, upheaving the planet, intentionally creating refugees, widows and orphans by the millions bringing ‘peace and liberty’. They’re drowning in the blood of millions of innocents and the ‘church’ doesn’t have a clue, about as ‘spirit-led’ as trump’s pe nis, supporting this trash, complicit in it. If you consider this evil a religion of God, then you are about as delusional as they are.

    They’ve regressed to a paranoid Religion, a delusional cult fantasizing in primitive, dreamy, hair-splittin ‘theological’ bs, detached from truth/God, driven by fear and hate, motivated by rhetoric and propaganda. The average one would support a filthy rich, tax-dodging, “two” Corinthians, puzzy grabbin, blasphemous sexual predator – a godless, real anti-christ who says “I don’t need much forgiveness b/c I don’t make mistakes”, while their bible explicitly describes him and their mindless following! The spiritually depraved priests and preachers supporting him share his characteristics of sexual prowess and greed of money.

    They started here with the annually celebrated original ‘christian’ founding father Christopher Columbus pulling the Native ‘savages’ apart with horses for not meeting his weekly gold quotas, thanking God for his ‘prosperity’ in his letters to the queen. They’ve upheaved Africa for over a century and overthrown every government in South America, some 2 and 3 times, installing some of the most ruthless, murdering tyrants known to man, and continue today in their demonically greedy corporate hustle. They’re funneling arms all over the world fueling death and destruction, getting filthy rich from the misery, anguish, despair and death.







    “The U.S. doth bestride the world of arms production and dealing like a colossus. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, U.S. arms contractors sold $209.7 billion in weaponry in 2015, representing 56% of the world’s production. Of that, $40 billion was exported to an array of countries, representing “half of all agreements in the worldwide arms bazaar… Judged by the sheer amount of weapons it produces for itself, as well as for others, the U.S., notes Forbes, is “still comfortably the world’s superpower — or warmonger, depending on how you look at it.”

    …and the evidence goes on and on.

    If the vicious drive to acquire more is the core of evil, then there is no doubt this death merchant cult claiming Christ is truly the evil antichrist spirit their bible predicted would ravage the world, and now truly is. “…he destroys wonderfully with peace”


  16. When you are not talking crazy, you and I agree on a great deal.

  17. You’re ok Ben… you just asked for my belief and I gave it. I need your help on these boards more than argument. We need to stay focused on the Evil ravaging humanity. God will sort us out later.

  18. The most religious Christian state in America is Mississippi. The most backwards (in terms of education, quality of life, tolerance, racism, economic development and other metrics) is Mississippi! The same is true in richer states, where multicultural big cities are much more advanced than poorer white Christian towns.
    Christofascists want more Christianity in schools and society. Really???

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