Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mapping the Faith of the Nation

I thought this was interesting. Today ran article about the geographical make up of the people in this country in it's Articles of Faith section mapping the nation by religion. It's based on a recent Gallup poll and probably has a few surprises.

Posted by Michael Paulson August 7, 2009 01:13 PM

For those of us who love maps, Gallup today has put out a nifty set illustrating the differential religious makeup of the American states. The maps are based on new data -- survey research conducted earlier this year -- but there's no big news here: the Northeast is the most Catholic region, the South the most Protestant, Utah the most Mormon and New York the most Jewish. And the Pacific Northwest and northern New England have the biggest percentages of non-religious folks. Here is Gallup's analysis of what it calls a "remarkable pattern of religious dispersion in the U.S.,'' with an interesting unanswered question about Vermont:

"A good deal of the religious dispersion across the states is explainable by historical immigration patterns -- particularly the impact of the large waves of European Catholics and Jews who came through ports of entry in the Middle Atlantic states in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The geographic concentration of Mormons in and around Utah reflects the cross-country migration of that group in the mid-1800s from Illinois and other Eastern states to their new home. The fact that certain states like Oregon and Vermont consist disproportionately of residents with no religious identity is more difficult to explain, with hypotheses focusing on the particular and idiosyncratic cultures of those states and/or the migration of certain types of Americans to those states over the decades."

Here's the map about Catholicism:


And Protestantism:






And, finally, a map showing states by percentage of non-religious people:


After reading articles and seeing maps like this, I always like to point out that Catholicism has thrived in NM for over 400 years. ;)


Jeff said...

I always like to point out that Catholicism has thrived in NM for over 400 years. ;)


And look at us in New England! Rhode Island with the highest concentration and us in Massachuetts second. Booyah!

Thanks for the maps. I love maps. What I found especially interesting is the percentage of unchurched in Northern New England - Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. I thought California and the Pacific Northwest would be the highest.

Maria said...

I grew up where the settlement of New Mexico covered maybe one paragraph in my elementary school text books, so I'm always a bit keen to point out the whole story. Same with the fact that Catholicism was thriving here long before Baltimore became the first Archdiocese in the nation.

I thought these maps were pretty interesting. New England didn't surprise me. I was surprised that Maryland was only above average, since it was established as a "Catholic" Colony.

You're right the "Unreligious" Map was surprising. I wonder if because California had a higher Catholic population that factors into the lower unreligious ranking?

This stuff really fascinates me.