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Provo-Orem is most religious metro area, says Gallup

Published March 29, 2013 1:59 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

What do Utah and the Deep South have in common other than, say, a love for fried chicken?

Faith.

Gallup announced Friday that the Provo-Orem area — home to LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University — is the most religious of 189 metropolitan areas surveyed last year, with 77 percent of residents identifying as "very religious."

The Ogden-Clearfield area didn't do too shabby either, tying for eighth on the list with 55 percent of residents classified as highly religious.

Salt Lake City, world headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ranked significantly lower, though it still cracked the top 45 with 46.8 percent of residents classified as very religious.

The next four most religious places after Provo-Orem were in Alabama and Mississippi. According to Gallup, residents in Utah and Southern cities are two or three times as likely to be very religious as those living in cities in the Northeast, Northwest and other Western areas.

Overall, Gallup rated Mississippi as the most religious state, and Utah tied with Alabama for second. Vermont was rated the least religious state with 19 percent of residents classified as very religious.

Throughout the country as a whole last year, 40 percent of Americans were considered very religious because they said faith was an important part of their daily life, and they attended services every week or almost every week. Another 29 percent of Americans were rated moderately religious, saying faith is important but they do not attend services regularly or that religion is not important but they do attend services. Thirty-one percent of Americans were nonreligious.

Results were based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 244,917 adults selected using random-digit-dial sampling, according to Gallup. The margins of error ranged from less than 1 percentage point to 6.5 percentage points, depending on the size of the areas surveyed.

Lisa Schencker