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Sunday, February 21, 2010

States and Church Attendance

Our chapter on federalism notes social differences among the states. Our chapter on civic culture analyzes the role of religion in American public life. A new release from Gallup touches on both subjects:
Mississippians were the most frequent churchgoers in the nation in 2009, as was the case in 2008, with 63% of residents attending weekly or almost every week. Nine of the top 10 states in church attendance are in the South; the only non-Southern state is Utah, with 56% frequent attendance. At the other end of the spectrum, 23% of Vermont residents attend church frequently, putting it at the bottom of the list of churchgoing states. Other states at the bottom of the church attendance list are in either New England or the West.
Gallup's compilation of church attendance data is based on more than 350,000 interviews conducted among national adults, aged 18 and older, across all 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2009. Gallup began tracking state-level church attendance on a daily basis in 2008, asking respondents how often they "attend church, synagogue, or mosque -- at least once a week, almost every week, about once a month, seldom, or never." Frequent church attendance for the purpose of this analysis is defined as those who report attending at least once a week or almost every week. Nationally, 41.6% of all Americans in 2009 said they attended church this often.