29 December 2009

Religiosity in West Virginia

West Virginia trails most of the rest of the Bible Belt but ranks ahead of nearly all other states in a Pew Research Center survey on religion.

The Mountain State placed 15th for the percentage of respondents who said religion is very important in their lives, at 60 percent. As for other measures:

  • 43 percent said they attend religious services at least once a week, the 17th-best showing;
  • 66 percent said they pray at least once a day, giving West Virginia its best ranking in the survey at 13th;
  • 76 percent said they believe in God with "absolute certainty," ranking it 16th.
Mississippi topped each ranking, while Alaska and the New England states tended to round out each list. Among its neighbors, West Virginia tended to rank higher above all except Kentucky.

Pew mined the results from a 2007 survey of nearly 36,000 U.S. residents, including 296 West Virginians. The state's portion has a margin of error of plus or minus 6.5 percent.

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