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Irreligion Substantial In Unexpected Places

When I read in the American Religious Identification Survey of 2008 that Vermont has the highest rate of people living without religion in the United States, I wasn’t surprised. Vermont has a reputation for progressive nonconformity. I didn’t expect to find much irreligion in Wyoming, though.

Yet, that’s just what what the survey found. The survey indicates that about 28 percent of people in Wyoming identify themselves as having no religion. That’s only 6 percent fewer than the percentage of nonreligious people in Vermont. People don’t commonly group Vermont and Wyoming together, but they’re both in the top 10 in terms of the percent of state population estimated to be living with no religion. Idaho is in there too. Yes, Idaho.

There’s a geographical split in the distribution of irreligious states. Something interesting is indicated by this pattern, but I can think of several explanations. I’m curious to hear what other people conclude from the following map:

most irreligious states in America

Vermont 34 % no religion
New Hampshire 29% no religion
Wyoming 28% no religion
Maine 25% no religion
Washington 25% no religion
Nevada 24% no religion
Oregon 24% no religion
Delaware 23% no religion
Idaho 23% no religion
Massachusetts 22% no religion

You may notice that Alaska and Hawaii are not on the map. That’s not a mistake. For some reason, the American Religious Identification Survey doesn’t take any measurements in those two states. I’d love to know why that’s the case.

1 comment to Irreligion Substantial In Unexpected Places

  • Jim

    Wyoming is an interesting state. It has a reputation for “conservatism,” but that conservatism doesn’t map easily onto the conservatism of the rest of the country, having included some big libertarian (and even civil libertarian) strains. It was the first place in the nation in which women could vote. It has liberal abortion laws. Does this extend existentially?

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