Most Religious Counties in USA

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billd89
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Most Religious Counties in USA

Post by billd89 »

This is an old study, but I suppose it's still largely accurate. Surprisingly -- to me -- I actually grew up in the Most Religious County in my state. I did suppose most people in my town 'went to church every Sunday' in the 1970s, and since the RE turnover is the lowest, that level of religiosity is still there (in 2017/8, when data was collected) decades later. It's a grey town: lots of old ppl. This fact is also not trivial, for the religiosity angle: "Norfolk County is the 24th highest-income county in the United States with a median household income of $107,361. It is the wealthiest county in Massachusetts." It is also the third most populous county in MA: its not crowded, but it's not rural nor desolate, either. And by comparison -- because we always compete w/ NY -- Norfolk County is double the population of of the leading NY county (which is 15% Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish) yet still lacks any leading 'denomination' which could account for the relatively high religiosity. Hmmm ...

21. Norfolk County, Massachusetts {Population: 786 k}

Religious service attendance: 64.7.% of county pop.
Religious service attendance: 57.2% of state pop. (8th highest)
Congregations in county: 5 per 10,000 people
Congregations in state: 6 per 10,000 people (4th lowest)

The Most Religious per Capita county in any state appears to be in Cali: but look, almost no one lives there!
5. Mono County, California {Population: 13 k}

Religious service attendance: 96.1.% of county pop.
Religious service attendance: 45.0% of state pop. (21st lowest)
Congregations in county: 11 per 10,000 people
Congregations in state: 6 per 10,000 people (4th lowest)

It would appear that 'normal in most ways' (except affluent) Norfolk County MA is the most religious by Large Size/Population in the USA, a very surprising factoid to me (if true). Surely, there must be more religious and populous counties down South ...
andrewcriddle
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Re: Most Religious Counties in USA

Post by andrewcriddle »

There is a known issue that self-reporting exaggerates religious attendance.

Andrew Criddle
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billd89
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Re: Most Religious Counties in USA

Post by billd89 »

andrewcriddle wrote: Wed Nov 08, 2023 8:37 am There is a known issue that self-reporting exaggerates religious attendance.

Andrew Criddle
Another non sequitur? Do you have a point that's relevant?

If only 27.6% of the Maine population "self-reports" regularly attending worship services, versus 78.1% in Utah, are you saying people in Maine are more honest/less exaggerating? On the contrary, I would think that if all religious people exaggerate (your off-topic point), then a state-by-state comparison AND FURTHERMORE a county-by-county comparison will largely obviate that issue. In other words, we will still see 'apples-to-apples', so THE REAL POINT, a true difference in Religiosity*, will appear as shown. We might quibble over percentages (e.g. do Mormons exaggerate abit more than Catholics? By how much?), and a more precise granular focus on counties would probably raise or lower the Religiosity stat a few %age points on all counties across this study. So what. We still have a reasonable portrait of religiosity, however nebulous that may be in your mind.

A couple of years earlier, Alabama was ranked the "Most Religious State" by a Pew Center study and different metrics: "% of adults who are 'highly religious'".

1. Alabama 77%
2. Mississippi 77%
3. Tennessee 73%
4. Louisiana 71%
5. Arkansas 70%
6. S. Carolina 70%

Note that Massachusetts -- which again supposedly has the largest county by population that is 'most religious, by attendance' -- actually ranks almost dead last, as 'the least religious state in the USA'. I think this is true, also: look at how progressive MA is, the first for gay marriage, strong on abortion rights, separation of Church & State, etc.

48. Connecticut 43%
49. Maine 34%
50. Vermont 34%
51. Massachusetts 33%
52. New Hampshire 33%

Having visited Alabama, and lived w/ someone from there, I can easily imagine that Alabama is the Most Religious State in the USA. Again supposedly, Jefferson County (674,721) is the Most Religious (Well-Populated) County in Alabama (83.9%). Surprise, surprise! That's Birmingham AL: where my roommate grew up and still lives. In other words, these statistics are (coincidentally, but actually) entirely consistent with what I know, saw, experienced personally. (The leading counties in MS and TN are very rural and among the least populous in the USA; like Mono Co CA, they're basically irrelevant to our discussion.)

But again, Norfolk Co. in MA was scored 64.7.%: Jefferson Co. is only 30% more religious. Rural-urban Jefferson Co. is 3x larger by area, but somewhat smaller by population; Norfolk Co. also contains some urban areas, but overall it is much less rural and twice as densely populated. This factor is key, I think: about 45% of Norfolk Co. identifies as Catholic (evangelicals are a trivial percentage or so), whereas about 35% of Jefferson Co. identifies as Baptist (but about 55% all residents would be evangelicals, all totaled). This is consistent with my understanding that evangelicals ARE "more religious" than Catholics, but also that Norfolk Co. was indeed a 'religiously Catholic' place when I was growing up, and remains so 'relatively'. Politically, 64% of Norfolk Co. is Independent or Republican, and in recent years Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) was from Norfolk Co. and 35% of Presidential votes were cast for Trump: I believe alot of conservative Catholics voted for Trump, there it is.

* Religiosity: I'll simplify it thus. I am also well aware that some religious people don't attend "church" and that different qualifications are possible.
Last edited by billd89 on Thu Nov 09, 2023 8:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
Secret Alias
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Re: Most Religious Counties in USA

Post by Secret Alias »

Stop being mean to Andrew. That he condescends to say anything it's because he wants to enrich the discussion with facts or at least perspective.
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billd89
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"Mean"?

Post by billd89 »

Shut up. You're barking, most of the time. He's off topic with non sequiturs veering into red herring territory all too often. Check!
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