Click through the slideshow to see most and least Catholic states in the United States:
A study measuring religious bodies in the United States called the, “2010 U.S. Religious Census: Religious Congregations & Membership Study (RCMS)” was recently released by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (ASARB). The most comprehensive study of its kind, it provides detailed county-by-county information on congregations, members, adherents and attendance for 236 different faiths groups. (The survey differentiates between specific denominations within the same tradition.)
Slightly more than 58.9 million Catholic adherents and 20,589 congregations were reported in 2,960 counties across the country. The researchers found Massachusetts to be the most Catholic state with around 44.9 percent of population identifying as Catholic adherents. The researchers found Tennessee to be the least Catholic state with only 3.5 percent identifying as Catholic adherents.
The researchers define adherents to be those with an affiliation to a congregation including children, members and attendees who are not members, and believe that the adherent measure is the most complete and comparable across religious groups. Congregations are defined as groups of people who meet regularly at a pre-announced time and location.
As the map below shows, except for a few scattered counties in the West and in the Bible belt, the rest of the country uniformly has at least 5 percent of Catholic adherents.
As far as Catholic congregations are concerned, the highest concentration is in the Northeastern and parts of the Midwest.
Interestingly, the largest Catholic churches are now in the West. In 2010, Catholic churches in the West reported an average of approximately 4,200 members. Thirty years ago, Catholic churches in the West had slightly less than 2000 members on average, meaning that churches in the West have grown by over 100 percent in the last 30 years. Catholic churches in the South have also grown about 67 percent in the same time period.
Grammich, Clifford, Kirk Hadaway, Richard Houseal, Dale E. Jones, Alexei Krindatch, Richie Stanley, and Richard H. Taylor, 2012. 2010 U.S. Religion Census: Religious Congregations & Membership Study. Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies.
For a list of most and least religious cities, click here.
For a list of most and least interfaith cities, click here.
For a list of most and least Christian states, click here.
For a list of most and least Mormon states, click here.
For a list of most and least Jewish states, click here.
For a list of most and least Muslim states, click here.
Most and least religious states (Gallup)