Thursday, July 12, 2007

Godless Georgia

Even though based on seven-year-old data, the above map is enlightening. Among other things, it tells me that the Bible Belt runs north and south through the middle of the country, not (as we commonly think) east and west through the southern/southeastern reaches.
The state where I now live, Georgia, is not as religious as it's reputed to be, though my home state of Oregon lives up to its billing as the least-churched part of the country.
All the Mormons make it pretty easy to figure out where Utah is. And notice that Southern California is more churchgoing than Northern - thanks to the Catholic Hispanics?
I'd love to see similar maps done separately just for Catholics, Jews, mainline Protestants, and Evangelicals. (Atheists would be good, too, Hemant, but until you start your own "churches," you're too hard to count.) - Update: there are some additional maps available here.
Anyone like to add any sage observations?


  1. According to Wikepidia(, the bible belt has more to do with conservative, evangelical baptists...This map confirms the east to west you were talking about. Its pretty funny...most counties in southern states have at least 10-25% Baptist.

  2. Thanks, Arnold. The map has given me a lot to think about.

    I realize that I've never really lived in a place that was 75% religious after our family left North Dakota when I was 10, where Mom grew up.

    In North Dakota, we rarely locked the doors of our home or our car, and we lived in Grand Forks or Bismarck, the largest cities. The crime rate is still the lowest in the country, the last time I heard.

    I wonder if there is a correlation between religious practice and crime rates?

  3. Thanks Gene -

    So if we meet someone in the South who goes to church, we'll be pretty safe if we assume they're Baptists.

    And if you're trying to avoid Baptists, Idaho and Alaska look to be the most safe.

    And Thea -

    As for crime, I don't know. As a tourist traveling to other countries, though, I've come to expect hooliganism in Protestant countries; pickpockets and short-changers in Catholic ones; and no problems at all in Muslim ones. (Asian countries are harder for me to categorize.)