Friday, January 08, 2010

How religious is your state? Pew's rankings

The Pew Foundation, which churns out many interesting statistics about religion, came out with this ranking of all 50 states (actually 46--the had to combine a few of the smaller ones) in terms of religiosity using several different measures.

No big surprises... the South is the most religious region, with Mississippi scoring highest on all four measures. New England and Alaska are the least religious areas.

While the rank ordering was expected, I was surprised by how much variation there is across the range of states. Given how many people live in each state, I figured that while within-state variation would be high, between state variation wouldn't be. But... there's a lot of difference between the top and the bottom of the list.

82% of Mississippi residents say that religion is very important to them, 36% of NH/Vermont residents.

60% of Mississippi residents attend religious services weekly, only 23% of NH/VT residents do.

Where does your state rank?


Jay Livingston said...

Five of the top ten states on the list -- Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky-- are also in the top ten on the divorce rate.

Joshua said...

Interesting, especially since increased religiosity is linked to less, not more divorce.

Brad Wright said...

oops, that was my comment.

Jay Livingston said...

My guess is that if you controlled for age at marriage and maybe median income or level of poverty, the correlation would be considerably weakened. Those Southern states have got religion, which may push for less divorce. But they also have a lot of young marriage, poverty, and lack of education, all of which push for higher rates of divorce