Connecticut residents rank #41 in the nation in regular church attendance, according to a new survey. The state had plenty of company from New England neighbors at the bottom of the list. The bottom four slots were occupied by New England states – Vermont at #50, New Hampshire at #49, Maine at #48 and Massachusetts at #47. Rhode Island ranked at #34. In the survey by the Gallup organization throughout 2014, slightly more than half of Utah residents say they attend religious services every week, more than any other state in the union. Residents in the four Southern states of Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas are the next most likely to be frequent church attendees, with 45 percent to 47 percent reporting weekly attendance.
At the other end of the spectrum is Vermont, where 17 percent of residents say they attend religious services every week. In Connecticut, 25 percent say they attend religious services weekly. In addition, 19 percent say they attend nearly weekly or monthly, and 54 percent say they seldom or never attend religious services.
The results are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews throughout 2014 with 177,030 U.S. adults, and reflect those who say "at least once a week" when asked, "How often do you attend church, synagogue or mosque -- at least once a week, almost every week, about once a month, seldom or never?"
Church attendance self-reports are estimates, Gallup notes, and “may not reflect precise week in and week out attendance, but provide an important measure of the way in which Americans view their personal, underlying religiosity.”
Gallup concludes that “within the U.S. there are stark geographic differences in religiosity. In some states of the union -- Utah and Southern states -- roughly half of residents report attending religious services weekly, while in others -- mostly in the Northeast and the West -- a fourth or less of residents attend weekly.”
Ten of the 12 states with the highest self-reported religious service attendance are in the South, along with Utah and Oklahoma, according to the Gallup survey. “The strong religious culture in the South reflects a variety of factors, including history, cultural norms and the fact that these states have high Protestant and black populations -- both of which are above average in their self-reported religious service attendance,” Gallup noted in an analysis of the data.
Utah's No. 1 position on the list, Gallup indicated, “is a direct result of that state's 59% Mormon population, as Mormons have the highest religious service attendance of any major religious group in the U.S.”
In Vermont, 71 percent of respondents indicated they “seldom or never” go to religious services. That percentage was 65 percent in Maine, 63 percent in New Hampshire, 59 percent in Massachusetts, 54 percent in Connecticut and 53 percent in Rhode Island.