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Following Faith
Peggy Fletcher Stack
Peggy Fletcher Stack has been producing stories for The Salt Lake Tribune's award-winning Faith section for nearly two decades. Writing about contemporary faith, rituals, and spirituality as well as religion's conflicts and cohesion has always been Stack's passion. Follow her at facebook.com/peggy.fletcherstack, Twitter @religiongal

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Poll: Mississippi edges Utah — again — as most religious state

The just-announced results of a 2012 Gallup Poll of state-by-state religiosity has a familiar ring:

Mississippi is No. 1 and Utah is No. 2 — the same order as the previous year.

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The Beehive State ended up with 56 percent of residents describing themselves as "very religious," just short of Mississippi’s 58 percent.

As in 2011, eight of the top 10 religious states are in the South’s so-called Bible Belt. In fact, Utah — headquarters of the LDS Church — once again was the only Western state in the group.

Vermont came in dead last again with only 19 percent of its residents classified as "very religious," finishing just ahead of New Hampshire (23 percent) and Maine (24 percent).

Five Western states are in the bottom 10 — including Oregon (29 percent) and Nevada, Hawaii, Alaska and Washington (all 31 percent).

These finding are based on more than 348,000 interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily 2012 tracking, including more than 1,000 interviews conducted in all but two states and the District of Columbia, the website says.

"Overall, 40 percent of Americans nationwide were classified as very religious in 2012 — based on saying religion is an important part of their daily life and that they attend religious services every week or almost every week," the site reports. "Thirty-one percent of Americans were nonreligious, saying 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 were moderately religious, saying religion is important in their lives but that they do not attend services regularly, or that religion is not important but that they still attend services."

The margins of error for the nationwide and state-by-state surveys range from 1 to 6 percentage points.

Peggy Fletcher Stack

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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