Map of US Religious Affiliation by County

Map of US Religious Affiliation by County April 21, 2012

This is one of my favorite maps of religion. It was produced by Glemary research, and it shows the predominant religious affiliation in counties nationwide. It demonstrates the many historical patterns that shaped American religion. For example, you can see the westward path of the Methodist circuit riders (in green) plus the immigration of Northern Europeans to the Northern Midwest.

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  • Methodists seem to have a hard time going over mountains.

    • According to Stark and Finke, mountain ranges play a surprisingly important role in shaping the spread of religions… Go figure.

  • buddyglass

    It’d be interesting to see a sort of “heat map” for each denomination by itself. The map is cool, but I feel like some information is lost given each county is colored according to the faith with the highest percentage in that county. Baptists are probably pretty prevalent, for instance, in much of southwest Texas; they’re just not as prevalent as Catholics.

    It’s interesting that groups like the Episcopals and Presbyterians aren’t a majority anywhere, despite having more total membership (I’m guessing) than the various Lutheran denominations. They’re just more “diffuse”.

    What’s the yellow category that’s just labeled “Christian”?

    • buddyglass

      Here’s another great map, btw. Has nothing to do with faith issues, but you might find it interesting from a purely sociological point of view:

      I can’t figure out why there’s a pocket of “soda” folks in eastern Missouri & southwest Illinois. Also interesting how Wisconsin and Pennsylvania are split so sharply into “pop” and “soda” halves.

  • Jay Egenes

    Any equivalent map that shows actual participation. When I did chaplaincy training in southern California, I was amazed at the number of hospitalized people who wanted to see a Catholic priest, but didn’t know one. So they got me (not a Roman Catholic priest). Also interesting how “my people,” the northern European Lutherans, all landed in the upper Midwest. I would have thought there would be some Lutheran counties in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana or Michigan.

    • Interesting… I’ve seen a map somewhere of religious participation. I’ll have to try and find it.

  • As I recall, there was another version of this map done by a Catholic organization several years earlier. It would be interesting to see how things might have shifted.
    As I recall the earlier map showed Kansas and Nebraska as much greener then this map but this map still shows a high concentration of Methodists. In the years leading up to the Civil War, abolitionist Methodists and Baptists moved to KS and NE to keep them free states. Sometime back I looked up the location of all the Southern Baptist and American Baptist churches in the Kansas City metro (split in half by the MO and KS line). As I recall, 80% of American Baptist churches were on the KS side and 65% of Southern Baptists were on the MO side. We still experience the consequences of decisions made 150 years ago.