Mississippi remains the most religious state in the union in 2012, with 58 percent of its residents classified as very religious, according to a new report from Gallup Daily.
The least religious state is Vermont, with 19 percent of its residents classified as very religious.
In Wisconsin, 36.7 percent of the residents are classified as very religious.
Gallup Daily’s state-by-state results are based on more than 348,000 interviews in 2012, including more than 1,000 interviews conducted in all but two states and the District of Columbia.
The survey found that 40 percent of Americans are very religious – that classification based on both assertions that religion is an important part of daily life but also attending religious services regularly.
Thirty-one percent of Americans are nonreligious – religion is not an important part of their daily life and that they seldom or never attend religious services.
The remaining 29 percent of Americans are moderately religious – religion is important in their lives but that they do not attend services regularly.
Gallup said the percentages of very religious, moderately religious and nonreligious Americans in 2012 are similar to 2012.
There also are similarities in the states that rank in the top 10 for most religious and least religious from one year to the next.
Eight of the top 10 religious states are in the South – basically the entire Southern belt from Georgia and the two Carolinas on the Atlantic coast through Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi, to Louisiana and Arkansas in the west. The states outside the Southern belt are Utah – with its strongly religious majority Mormon population – and Oklahoma, which straddles the border between the South and the Midwest.
The least religious states are Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Oregon, District of Columbia, Nevada, Hawaii, Alaska, Connecticut and Washington.
In a Gallup survey in December, 53 percent of Americans said they support legalizing same-sex marriage and 46 oppose civil gay marriage. Religion was the big factor for those who oppose gay marriage.
Gallup reported, "A simple indicator of religiosity – religious service attendance – is a powerful predictor of views on same-sex marriage, with seven in 10 of those who attend weekly saying they are opposed, and seven in 10 of those who seldom or never attend saying they are in favor. Significantly, when asked to explain their position, almost half of those opposed to same-sex marriage focus on religion, including the statement that such a position follows the respondent's religious beliefs, or that it is based on their interpretation of the Bible."