Most Protestant States in U.S. Are Mississippi and Alabama

According to a new Gallup Poll, 51 percent of Americans self-identified as Protestant or non-Catholic Christians in 2013, making this by far the largest religious grouping in the country. All of the top 10 most Protestant states are in the South, and 90 percent of these are at least 70 percent Protestant.

The least Protestant state is heavily Mormon Utah, which is only 11 percent Protestant. Other states with low representations of Protestants are in New England and the Middle Atlantic, along with the Western states of California, Idaho, Nevada, and Hawaii.

More than half of Rhode Island’s population (54 percent) is Catholic, making it the most Catholic state in the union, and the only state in which the Catholic population is at least twice the national average (24 percent). The next four most Catholic states are also on the East Coast, including New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. The least Catholic states are generally the highly Protestant Southern states, along with Utah.

The 24% of Americans identifying themselves as Catholic in 2013 conforms to the generally stable percentage of the population identifying themselves this way since 2008.

In addition to the high representation of Catholics on the East Coast (including the top five states plus New Hampshire), above-average proportions of Catholics are found in nearby Pennsylvania, four Midwestern states—Wisconsin, Illinois, North Dakota, and Nebraska—and two states with high Hispanic populations, New Mexico and California.

On the other hand, nine of the 10 least Catholic states are in the South, with the bottom four— Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and Arkansas—all having just 8% Catholic populations. Of these 10 states, only Utah is not in the South, reflecting its predominantly Mormon population.

About 2 percent of the U.S. population identifies itself as Jewish, but unlike Mormons, Jews are much more evenly distributed across the states. The highest Jewish concentration of any state—in New York—is just 7%. Other states with slightly higher-than-average Jewish populations include New Jersey (5 percent) and Massachusetts (4 percent), in addition to the District of Columbia (4 percent).

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