These Are the 12 Most Religious States in America

Woman's hand with cross .Concept of hope, faith, christianity, religion, church online.
PUWADON SANG/Shutterstock.com

Written by Erica Scassellati

Published: February 14, 2024

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America is full of religious states, with Christianity prevailing as the most common religion in the entire country. Research has been conducted to determine which states in the United States are the most religious.

For example, the Pew Research Center’s Religious Landscape Study examined four factors that determine what states are the most religious. These measures include:

  • Religious attendance
  • Frequency of prayer
  • Belief in God
  • Self-assessment of the importance of religion

While this research was extremely helpful when compiling this list, we also examined other factors, such as the state’s history with religion and specific religious settlements. Let’s dive into the 12 most religious states in America.

12. New York

Hasidic Jews walk to temple on the sabbath in Williamsburg Brooklyn

Hasidic Jews walk to Temple on the Sabbath in Williamsburg Brooklyn.

Though New York ranked much further down in the Pew Research Center’s list, its melting pot of cultures and religions earned it its spot on our list.

New York City has a higher Catholic and Jewish population when compared to most of the rest of the country. In fact, New York City represents the highest Jewish population of any city in the world outside of Israel. Additionally, three percent of New York City’s population is Hindu according to India Today.

11. Utah

Aerial of Latter-day Saint Provo Temple at Day

The Mormon Provo Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is located in Provo, Utah.

Utah deserves a place on this list thanks to its long history with the Mormon religion. According to history.com, the story dates back to 1844 when thousands of Mormons fled Illinois in fear after the murder of their founder and prophet, Joseph Smith.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ new leader, Brigham Young led 148 Mormons west across the Great Salt Lake Valley. In the following decades, thousands of Mormons followed suit on wagon trains. By the time Utah gained statehood in 1896, the LDS church had more than 250,000 members, most living in Utah. 

Today the LDS church reports that Utah is home to over 2 million Mormons, though notably, this does not appear to take into account whether they are still practicing. Though Utah did not make the top 10 on the Pew Research Center’s list, the website reports that 53% of residents attend worship services at least weekly — the most out of any state.

10. North Carolina

Exterior of All Souls Church in Asheville, North Carolina

The All Souls Church is located in Asheville, North Carolina.

North Carolina ranked number 10 in the Pew Research Center’s examination of most religious states in America. The study found that 65% of people in the Tar Heel State are “highly religious.” The outlet mainly defines “highly religious” people as “any adult who reports at least two of four highly observant behaviors.” These are the four factors mentioned in the introduction to this article.

9. Georgia

Trees and red-roofed buildings in Helen, Georgia.

Christianity plays an important role in the state of Georgia.

The Pew Research Center reports that 71% of both Georgia and Oklahoma locals consider themselves to be “highly religious.” The majority of religious individuals in Georgia practice Christianity, as part of the Bible Belt.

The Bible Belt is a region of the Southern United States (and one Midwestern State) that gets its name due to the strong role socially conservative Protestant Christianity plays in society.

8. Oklahoma

Women holding and playing their sacred drums outdoors in the wintertime

Native American spirituality is an important part of Oklahoma’s religious history.

Though the Pew Research Center tied Oklahoma and Georgia, we’ve moved Oklahoma up on this list. The Sooner State’s religious profile varies considerably from the rest of the country.

For example, according to the Oklahoma Historical Society, Churches of Christ, Methodist, Pentecostal, and Holiness groups are much more common in Oklahoma than elsewhere, despite the fact that a large population of the state’s residents identify as Southern Baptists.

Additionally, Native American spirituality and religious influences can be seen throughout the state. The Native American Church of Oklahoma has been around for over 100 years and remains an important part of Oklahoma’s history.

7. West Virginia

Aerial view Harpers Ferry national park

Churches and old buildings can be seen in the National Park town of Harpers Ferry in West Virginia.

West Virginia ranked 7th on the World Population Review’s list, with 69% of adults identifying as religious. Interestingly, the Washington Post found that the Mountain State is the only Southern state where Methodists were the largest denomination.

6. South Carolina

Six Mile South Carolina

This Methodist church is located in Six Mile, South Carolina.

South Carolina tied with Arkansas in the Pew Research Center’s examination of most religious states, with 70% of adults claiming to be religious. Given the state’s Bible Belt location, it’s no surprise that South Carolina is made up of numerous Protestant Christians.

5. Arkansas

Thorncrown Chapel church in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, designed by E. Fay Jones.

The Throncrown Chapel Church is one of the many churches located throughout Arkansas.

Though the Pew Research Center tied the two states, Arkansas beats out South Carolina due to its enormous number of churches. In fact, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that the Natural State has more churches per capita than any other state in the Union, with a total of 7,428 houses of worship — a rate of 246.7 for every 100,000 people.

According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, Baptists are currently the largest denomination of Christianity in the state. This includes branches such as Southern, Missionary, Free Will, and Primitive.

4. Louisiana

Voodoo Ritual - a stylized image depicting a voodoo ritual. African masks, a fertility goddess, a voodoo doll and candles make for a striking image.

This stylized image depicts a voodoo ritual, with African masks, a fertility goddess, a voodoo doll, and candles.

Seventy-one percent of Louisiana locals reportedly consider themselves to be religious. Protestants and other Christian religions make up the majority of religious individuals in the state. However, Louisiana also has a fascinating history with folk religion.

Voodoo first arrived in Louisiana with enslaved West Africans, who often merged their religion with the local Catholic practices, writes New Orleans Tourism. New Orleans Voodoo involves the belief that God does not interfere in daily lives, though spirits do.

Today many New Orleans locals keep gris-gris dolls and other talismans in their homes. Those practicing can also visit the Voodoo Spiritual Temple across the street from Congo Square.

3. Tennessee

The George Jones Memorial Baptist Church, built in 1901 by the residents of the now-defunct community of Wheat, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. Wheat was one of the communities displaced in the 1940s when the U.S. government initiated construction of Oak Ridge as part of the Manhattan Project.

The George Jones Memorial Baptist Church is a historic church building in Oak Ridge, TN.

According to the Pew Research Center, 73% of adults in Tennessee are seen as “highly religious.” Given its location within the Bible Belt, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that faith is important to so many people living in the state. Christianity is the main religion practiced in Tennessee, with Protestantism as its largest branch.

2. Mississippi

Jackson, Mississippi, USA cityscape at dusk.

Mississippi is one of the most religious states in the country.

The Pew Research Center’s data tied Mississippi and Alabama as the two most religious states in the country. In Mississippi, 74% of adults said religion was very important in their lives. A whopping 82% of Mississippians stated that they believe in God and 75% of the state residents stated that they pray daily. Finally, 49% reported regularly attending services.

1. Alabama

Welcome to Sweet Home Alabama Road Sign in Alabama USA

The Yellowhammer State is the most religious place in all of America.

Alabama seems to edge out Mississippi as the most religious state in America when you break down the numbers. For example, 77% stated that religion is an important part of their lives, with 51% of residents regularly attending service.

Alabama tied with Mississippi when its residents were asked if they believed in God. The only place the state fell behind MS slightly was in daily prayer, which a reported 73% of adults partake in.

Summary of the 12 Most Religious States in America

RankState
12New York
11Utah
10North Carolina
9Georgia
8Oklahoma
7West Virginia
6South Carolina
5Arkansas
4Louisiana
3Tennessee
2Mississippi
1Alabama


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About the Author

Erica is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on history, food, and travel. Erica has over 3 years of experience as a content writer and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, which she earned in 2018. A resident of Kansas City, Erica enjoys exploring her home town and traveling around the world to learn about different cultures and try new food.

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