It’s well-known and documented that the United States is a majority-Christian nation. But while we know that an overwhelming 78 percent of Americans call themselves followers of Jesus, there typically isn’t much attention given to differences in religious adherence by state.
It goes without saying that Christianity is the most prevalent religion in all 50 states, but which faith comes in second? Well, it varies.
A recent map based on data composed from the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies — a group that conducts the U.S. Religious Census every 10 years — shows that many of the faith allegiances are regional in nature.
Consider that in 20 U.S. states predominately in the South and Midwest Islam is the second most prevalent non-Christian faith system. Judaism, in contrast, is the second biggest religion in 14 U.S. States and Washington D.C., essentially dominating the Northeast, as PolicyMic noted.
See the map below:
But you might be surprised to learn that it isn’t only the Abrahamic faiths that capture the top spots in select U.S. states. In some Western states — 13 to be exact — Buddhism is the second largest. And Hinduism ranks second in both Arizona and Delaware.
Then there’s South Carolina, where Baha’i (a monotheistic religion that is sometimes listed among the Abrahamic faiths) is the second most prevalent faith system, according to PolicyMic.
As for those who wonder which percentage of religious devotees are actual church attendees versus nominal believers, the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies found that more than half of the population in 28 states attends religious services, the Washington Post reported.
For additional maps showing the most prevalent denominations and county-level breakdowns go here.
As for the U.S. as a whole, Judaism is the second largest faith cohort, representing just under 2 percent of the population; 16 percent of the nation considers itself “unaffiliated” with a faith, but only 1.6 percent considers itself “atheist” according to the Pew Research Center.