Spiritual state of the states: Utah and the South are most religious areas in U.S.

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  • Disgusted American deptford, NJ
    Feb. 10, 2014 12:29 p.m.

    For the second straight year, Mississippi is the most religious state in the U.S., and has the MOST Poverty, Obesity, Ignorance....unwanted pregnancies, baby mamas....childhood poverty.....hmm, what other bad things does America have? Just look up MS......Tells you alot, now don't it!!!

  • Pac_Man Pittsburgh, PA
    Feb. 10, 2014 9:13 a.m.

    @Hutterite: Have you visited Mississippi? Its a beautiful state.

  • A Run South Jordan, UT
    Feb. 9, 2014 11:16 p.m.

    In other news: Ice was discovered at the North Pole, Mars is red, The Sun actually does not orbit the earth, and It was discovered that we need oxygen.

    @Donn. What definition of Christian do Mormons not follow? We follow the Dictionary.com definition of Christians. We Believe in God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. We Proclaim ourselves as Christian, we are baptized by Immersion (The SAME way Christ was baptized), and teach Christian Doctrines and qualities. So we aren't Christian because we interpreted some parts of the bible differently than the rest of Christians did 325 years AFTER Christ? We simply interpreted the Christian trinity to be 3 divine beings instead of one triune god. Trinity does mean 3 doesn't it? Of course there would be no error in 325 years without modern technology.
    And who is to say that you have to be Christian to be good people. Quit judging people just because they aren't Christian. Did you realize that only about 6% of Muslims are terrorist, and WAY less than 1% of Muslims are terrorists. They don't all hate Christians or Americans

  • Bob A. Bohey Marlborough, MA
    Feb. 8, 2014 4:43 p.m.

    Claiming to be religious or attending religious services regularly really means nothing. It's how one lives and acts that is the true barometer of ones character. Anything else is lip service. More and more people today can see through the thin veil of the self proclaimed religious.

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    Feb. 8, 2014 12:01 p.m.

    @Objectified: I did cite my source. As you know, we can't post links here at DN, otherwise I would, but if you google the name of the site I cited, you'll find it.

    I, too, would quibble with the numbers. I find it impossible to believe there are only 100 formal mosques in NYC, since I've seen perhaps a dozen with my own eyes, and it's a very big city of which I only frequent a tiny part.

    To that end, I'd also like to point out that there are at least 3 Buddhist temples and a Hindu temple in easy walking distance from our house, but that website doesn't even mention the number of those religions at all. And, all the oriental grocery stores I've been in sell the paraphernalia required for the religious practice known as "ancestor worship." We even have a Mormon temple or three.

  • Objectified Tooele, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 4:40 p.m.

    @ A Quaker:

    You gave no source for your numbers, but they seem quite questionable. Recent statistical demographics from Wiki state there are only 650,000 Muslims in the entire state of New York, of which about 550,000 live in NYC... which is about half of what you quote.

    @ lixercat:

    You are coming across as the ultimate authority on how people around the country think, act and live. Some of your statements are rather obvious (some backward and some highly educated people everywhere one goes).

    But to claim that most people live in complete ignorance about the rest of our country and of the world is very questionable and obviously a subjective, hard-to-prove statement and one I can't agree with. It makes me wonder what uneducated pockets of those regions you claim to have lived in.

    I too have traveled quite extensively, lived in multiple regions and currently have children living in states from Washington to Tennessee. I don't find the same generalizations you assert about others... and that you yourself ironically warn others not to make.

  • Objectified Tooele, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 4:22 p.m.

    The correlations that some of the known and self-proclaimed political liberals (who often comment on DN articles) try to make regarding religiosity to other non-related statistics in both Utah and/or to the South are both humorous and sad.

    Humorous because such non-related demographic correlations are so silly and pretentious. Sad because those statements seem to be made in at least semi-seriousness... proving quite poignantly that there exists no lack of modern day ignorance.

  • Mr.Glass Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 2:20 p.m.

    Religious is not synonymous with spirituality. One can be spiritual without being a member of a religion.

  • lixircat Indianapolis, IN
    Feb. 7, 2014 10:29 a.m.

    Isn't it fun to listen to ignorance? My guess is that most of you from Utah have never even visited the south, let alone spent any extended period of time down there.
    I grew up in Utah, graduated HS in Mississippi, went to BYU, spent a decade in the Northeast, and now I'm in the Midwest. NEWSFLASH! There are backward people everywhere! There are also highly educated people everywhere. Most people regardless of where they live are completely ignorant about the rest of the country and the world. Utah does not hold a monopoly on living in a bubble.
    Just be careful making generalizations about groups of people you've never actually met. Some southerners think all Utahns still practice polygamy and sacrifice virgins in the SL temple and toss the bodies out the window into the Great Salt Lake. Sounds ridiculous, right? You people trashing the south don't sound all that different right now.

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    Feb. 7, 2014 9:08 a.m.

    Given the propensity of schools to discriminate or even suspend or expel students who don't agree with common liberals ideas, I don't think looking at publically recorded "education" is terribly useful in determining a populace's quality. Especially since, despite low expenditure, Utah's youth perform quite well-and quite a few of them are homeschooled, gaining reliable one-on-one learning while cutting required costs to public school funding.

    I can also say that after spending some time in Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, and red center-Arizona and comparing it to California, Colorodo, and blue-south Arizona, that the mannerism and quality of the former are of a quality lacking in the latter.

    Finally, it is in "religiosity" that one is admonished to love their brothers and sisters as God's children, and from which our very inalianable rights are derived. Without it we're left with cold, egotistical, cynical, hypocritical, misrepresenting social alternatives...

  • A Quaker Brooklyn, NY
    Feb. 7, 2014 2:32 a.m.

    As a New Yorker, I'd like to point out that you can be widely diverse and not arch-conservative and still be a "most religious area." From the "didyouknow" website:

    "83% of New Yorkers are affiliated to some organized religion. This is a rate of adherents larger than that of the state ... one of the highest in the entire United States.

    "Christians comprise about 70% of the population; 40% of whom are Catholic and 30% Protestant. They attend approximately ... 6000 churches. New York City also boasts the world’s largest cathedral, the Episcopal Church of St John the Divine.

    "12% of New Yorker claim Jewish decent. There are more Jews in New York City than there are in the Jerusalem city limits. They have more than 1000 synagogues...

    "There are almost a million Muslims in New York City. ...There are more than 100 mosques in the city, plus an unknown number of small mosques that worshipers set up in their apartments or places that are not visible from the street."

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 10:34 p.m.

    Tyler D.

    "Counter Intelligence, are you seriously suggesting that the theory of evolution (which is a “theory” in the same manner as the theory of gravity) "

    The theory of evolution is not equal to the Theory of gravity. The Theory of gravity is consistent. The theory of evolution hits roadblocks occasionally when a skull or bone fragment is found that does not fit in the current model, it is based on our best guesses given the information we know so far. (CI's point)

    Santa is a tradition. God is a belief. I'm not sure how the word "theory" applies here.

    Stay nice, you had good things to say.

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Provo, UT
    Feb. 6, 2014 9:40 p.m.


    Spend some time in Provo. Feel free to meet very well educated people who are religious.

    You might spend some time in the south too. Not having the same level of education as other parts of the country doesn't make anyone stupid. One may not have an education, yet still be wise. I'm sure many people in Mississippi are very wise. As many Utahn's revere Joseph Smith as being very wise, despite being uneducated... your question is very ironic.

  • ParkCityAggie Park City, Ut
    Feb. 20, 2013 9:54 p.m.

    Reading many of these comments gives me hope for our beautiful state. We might be (tied with) number 2, but we're nothing like number 1. Now if we could get people to quit voting these yahoos we have into office, I will really start to believe things are changing for the better in Utah!

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 20, 2013 9:05 p.m.

    Utah and some of these states in the south also have the worst education in the country.

  • GilmerTexasCougar Gilmer, TX
    Feb. 18, 2013 7:35 p.m.

    The bias against religion and the bias against the South are both interesting. As a Southerner and a graduate of Brigham Young University, I can state that the South is no more racist than any other part of the nation. I do enjoy being with church-going people. The majority of my closest friends are LDS because I spend more time with them and we share so many core beliefs. But I still have many, many non-LDS friends and as a general rule I feel closer to those who regularly attend church. I can tell a real benefit to the average person when he or she attends church.

  • Lightening Lad Austin , TX
    Feb. 18, 2013 5:58 p.m.

    I would be very concerned about being lumped with the least educated and most backward place in the US in Mississippi. It's a state with the highest rate of teen pregnancy, and lowest high school graduation rate . It's the spirituality rather than religious that matters most, that should be our goal, one that must be done in the privacy of each one heart and head, not in the congregation of any church.

  • utah cornhusker NORFOLK, NE
    Feb. 18, 2013 5:50 a.m.

    II thought Nebraska would be higher but not higher than Utah. Being raised in Nebraska one of the things I remember the most were friends parents who would go to church on Saturday night and stop for a few belts at the bar before going home. I love Nebraska in many ways but Wish we weren't such a minority back here and that people weren't So intolerant of religions beliefs.

  • Serenity Manti, UT
    Feb. 14, 2013 8:20 p.m.

    Gee Blue, why are you so hung up on public reproductive planning? Why are you so anxious to embrace diversity and equality when some of it breaks the laws of nature and God? What is so great about the THEORY of evolution versus creationism? Actually, I believe that evolution does not deny the Creator but rather shows His infinite intelligence. But both evolution and creationism should be taught in schools in all fairness. I would argue that our state has more opportunities for happiness, less confusion, less evil than the ones who don't believe in a higher power or even religion. Condemning a generally good, healthy, and moral population because you don't agree with their beliefs and calling them backward shows a lot of bias in your part

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Feb. 14, 2013 7:32 p.m.

    Let's look at Oregon #46) and Texas (#11). Why? No other reason than I have lived a large part of my adult life in both.

    Oregon is more conservative than its reputation would suggest, and Texas is more liberal than it's would suggest.

    However, in Oregon, Sunday was just another Saturday, as all the stores were open and all activities were equally schedules on Sunday as on Saturday.

    Frankly, it is much easier to observe the Sabbath in Texas, where there are still lots of businesses that close on Sunday, and there are churches on every other corner. I like it that way. If you don't, go to Vermont. (Brrrr)

  • donn layton, UT
    Feb. 14, 2013 6:44 p.m.

    56% very religious in Utah, which is probably around 50% are Mormons and maybe 5% Christian(Catholic Protestant. While Vermont is 19% very religious, which maybe 15% are Christian.
    Utah with 5% Christians could be the least Christian state in the U.S..

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Feb. 14, 2013 3:08 p.m.

    @Counter Intelligence and @Blue

    Enjoyed reading both of your counter-point comments as good demonstrations of the fact that no one political side has a monopoly on the truth. In my experience most conservative and liberals I know are decent people, they simply emphasis different issues and concerns.

    What’s troubling though (and what the media does constantly) is that the two sides talk past each other, and rather than honestly discussing each other’s fair points and criticisms, they instead engage in this silly “yeah, but what about…” back and forth, and then often move on to questioning the other’s motives, character and even patriotism.

    Alright, enough of the “nice guy” stuff – Counter Intelligence, are you seriously suggesting that the theory of evolution (which is a “theory” in the same manner as the theory of gravity) and the theory of Creationism (which is a “theory” in the same manner as the theory of Santa Claus) are on equal scientific footing? Science is about teaching facts supported by evidence… nothing more.

    Tossing that in didn’t help your case…

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 14, 2013 2:24 p.m.


    AKA "I judge you to be judgemental"

    Point noticed

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Feb. 14, 2013 1:59 p.m.


    Well said. The consensus here is usually the more religious the more worthy. From reading comments for a couple years it seems to mean the more judgmental and elitist.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 14, 2013 1:53 p.m.

    If because of its low religiosity your state is more likely to impose amoral secular sexual values in school, less likely to teach that scientific theory is truly theory in science classes, more likely to force others to pay for abortion and abortofacient drugs under the phony guise of being pro-choice when NO is never tolerated as an actual choice, and less likely to tolerate diversity of thought and substitute equality of outcome for equality of opportunity for it citizens, then I would argue that you have little to be proud of in that state.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Feb. 14, 2013 1:21 p.m.

    Wow, lot's of generalities here from both right and left. Stop trying to understand the world in oversimplified ways, people!

  • AiMeiGuo Boise, ID
    Feb. 14, 2013 12:34 p.m.

    Funny that Vermont is last. Joseph Smith left there as quick as he could!

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 14, 2013 12:05 p.m.

    "What will a beleif against gravity do? And how do people prove there lack of beleif? "

    *shrugs* Ask the people who don't believe the earth is warming.

    Mississippi has the highest rates of obesity, infant mortality, people in the 47% not paying income taxes, and poverty. That's not a blue state. Basically the best thing Alabama has (well, other than football) is that it's not Mississippi.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 14, 2013 11:34 a.m.

    Does religiosity correlate to how "good" a state is?

    If it does correlate, is the relationship causal?

    What metrics do you apply to determine what is and is not a "good" state? What counts as a positive?

    If because of its high religiosity your state is less likely to teach your kids sex education basics in school, less likely to teach biological evolution in its science classes, less likely to provide public family planning and reproductive health services, and less likely to embrace divirsity and equality under the law for its citizens, then I would argue that you have little to be proud of in that state.

  • rightascension Provo, UT
    Feb. 14, 2013 11:26 a.m.

    Neither the definitions of non-religiousness and religiosity seem particularly strict -- so what this seems to find is that even the most religious areas of the nation are not really that religious, and only a few of the states seem truly irreligious. So it is not no much blakc or white or red or blue but grey.

  • DHan Syracuse, UT
    Feb. 14, 2013 10:35 a.m.

    Alaska is a red state, but one of the most nonreligious. You can't have it both ways.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Feb. 14, 2013 9:46 a.m.

    We're not in good company.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 14, 2013 9:22 a.m.

    As a liberal American non-believer I see this story in a different light.

    To me, religion is simply a seller of Hope.

    People buy into religion as a crutch against the rigors of life. And like the environmental temperature sells more air conditioners in Texas than in Alaska, the quality of life may be the cause of the better market for hope/religion in different places.

    It might be interesting to see if there is correlation between this study and conservatism, republicanism, employment or education.

  • xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    Feb. 14, 2013 9:22 a.m.

    Alcohol dependence: Number 1, Montana - Red state.
    Worst economic problems, Number 1, Mississippi - Red state
    Most marijuana use, Number 1, Alaska, Red state

    Definitely would like to know the source of Mountanman's claims!

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Feb. 14, 2013 9:07 a.m.

    Mississippi & Utah: Most religious. Least money for education. Correlation maybe?

  • Mike in Texas Cedar City, Utah
    Feb. 14, 2013 9:05 a.m.

    The deep racist south and Utah. Curious bedfellows

  • NedGrimley Brigham City, UT
    Feb. 14, 2013 8:54 a.m.

    Utah - backward. I always thought that was a given...

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Feb. 14, 2013 8:53 a.m.

    Mountanman – “Blue states are far more likely to have economic problems, more drug and alcohol problems, more welfare demands and higher taxes. Could there be a correlation?”

    Painting with a pretty broad (and inaccurate) brush this morning, Mountanman?

    OK, I’ll play – show of hands, how many here would rather live in the most atheistic country in the world (Sweden) vs. the most religious (Pakistan)?

    Admittedly, there’s a lot more going on here than just religion (both at State and Country levels), but I don’t think the point you’re trying to make will hold up under such sweeping generalizations.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Feb. 14, 2013 8:51 a.m.

    Higv - Religion isn't truth. It is belief. Gravity is a fact, neither a belief or a truth but a fact. You can't compare something you believe in to something that is a fact. They aren't the same. And the terms truth and belief are not interchangeable. Furthermore, just as people not believing something doesn't make it false; believing in something you consider truth doesn't make it true. Religion makes people better then they are? Tell that to Warren Jeffs followers. And no, he isn't the only one. Religion can make people do terrible things because of percieved power.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Feb. 14, 2013 8:46 a.m.

    Utah excepted, at first glance it seems like the most backward areas of the country are the most religious areas.

  • Counter Intelligence Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 14, 2013 8:20 a.m.

    "Red states, economically depressed as a whole,"
    The south in general has grown inversely to the rust belt's decline. California is losing population and jobs to Texas at an increasing rate. Utah has one of the least depressed economies in the US.
    The basic condescension towards red sates, and by extension, religion, is both incorrect and unwarranted.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Feb. 14, 2013 8:19 a.m.

    @ Esquire. Blue states are far more likely to have economic problems, more drug and alcohol problems, more welfare demands and higher taxes. Could there be a correlation?

  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    Feb. 14, 2013 8:12 a.m.

    LDS families are sending their teens out just as soon and as fast as possible to thrash the nations with the power of the spirit. 1st Corinthians 1:27

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Feb. 14, 2013 7:58 a.m.

    Red states, economically depressed as a whole, less educated, and a whole host of other issues. Does Utah want to be part of the deep South? Just a question.

    Feb. 14, 2013 7:39 a.m.

    This DN story doesn't portray the full picture of the poll regarding Utah. While Utahns are ranked second in the "very religious" category, once "moderately religious" is factored in, Utah drops well out of the top ten regarding positive religious attitudes. There appears to be a growing polarization regarding religious attitudes in Utah, with no other state having a lower "moderately religious" figure. In my opinion, this demographic split reflects a bigger story than simply proclaiming Utah as #2 religiously.

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    Feb. 14, 2013 7:28 a.m.

    So people want to share there lack of beleif now? More shared doubt. I have no doubt to share. Truth is independent of what people choose to beleive. What will a beleif against gravity do? And how do people prove there lack of beleif?

    Religion for the most part makes people better people than they are.

  • mulrich Columbia, SC
    Feb. 14, 2013 7:07 a.m.

    The color coding on the map included in this article has no relation to the article itself. Gallop provided a much more sensible map, why wasn't it included?

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Feb. 14, 2013 6:37 a.m.

    The article fails to make clear just what percentage the "nones" are. It states they grew by 1.1% over each of the last two years and by 22% over the last few years but still doesn't state what percentage they are over all. I'm glad Utah is up there. I'm surprised we're not number one.