Map of religion in the United States

Map of religion in the United States July 12, 2012

Here’s an interesting map that shows the largest religious groups for each county in the United States. As always, I’m surprised at the geographical concentrations of different denominations and traditions which points to the rich social history that produced religion in the US.

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  • jerry lynch

    Interesting. The worst Poverty, notorious racism, high inmate population, and low education scores dominate where the Southern Baptists thrive, outpacing the rest of the country by far. Coincidence?

  • curious

    The History behind these patterns is what facinates me, but I realize though I know some of it but not maybe the clearist pattern.
    Catholics (from Ireland, Italy etc.) came in huge numbers to the North East thru Mid West, later migrating to the West Coast & S Florida. Also Catholic the Acadian refugees coming into S Louisianna, and the Hispanics along the US/Mexican Border.
    Lutherans from Scandinavia, prefered the Northern Great Plains.
    The Mormons of course migrating westward to Utah and the whole Rocky Mountain Range.
    The Methodist Circuit riders moving straight westward out of the NJ/NY area where they came from.
    But the most notable pattern of American Religion, so big it’s easy to miss is: Why is the South so Baptist. I assume it has something to do with the Second Great Awakening, but I don’t know the details or why its just so thorough in that area and so absent beyond. Anyone have further insights?

    • Floyd Gingrich

      The map shows the denomination with a plurality presence, but not what the mix is of the other groups; 24% rates a color block, 23% doesn’t show. Southern Baptists are strong in Kansas, Nebraska, Utah (sorta) Nevada, California, Arizona, New Mexico and Alaska, but not necessarily strong enough to overcome the 24% national strength of Roman Catholics or the mountain states’ pioneer legacy of Mormons. United Methodists have a strong presence nationally, as there is no sectional division. I haven’t found a distribution chart by denomination by state, but Wikipedia has a chart of national distribution:

      As shown in the table below, some denominations with similar names and historical ties to Evangelical groups are considered Mainline.

      Protestant: Mainline vs. Evangelical
      Family: Total:[10] US%[10] Examples: Type:
      Baptist 38,662,005 25.3% Southern Baptist Convention Evangelical
      American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. Mainline
      Pentecostal 13,673,149 8.9% Assemblies of God Evangelical
      Lutheran 7,860,683 5.1% Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Mainline
      Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod Evangelical
      Reformed 5,844,855 3.8% Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Mainline
      Presbyterian Church in America Evangelical
      Methodist 5,473,129 3.6% United Methodist Church Mainline
      African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church Evangelical
      Anglican 2,323,100 1.5% Episcopal Church Mainline
      Anglican Church in North America Evangelical
      Adventist 2,203,600 1.4% Seventh-Day Adventist Church Evangelical
      Holiness 2,135,602 1.4% Church of the Nazarene Evangelical
      Other Groups 1,366,678 0.9% Church of the Brethren Evangelical
      Friends General Conference Mainline

  • Randy

    Very interesting map, thanks. I’m intrigued by my home state of Michigan, which reveals itself as overwhelming Catholic – more Catholic than I certainly perceived it. Ottawa (Holland) county, I understand as reporting “Other” – most likely Reformed Church of America (RCA). But Grand Rapids (home of Calvin College) reports as Catholic. Is this because neither the Christian Reformed Church nor the RCA dominate, allowing for a plurality of Catholics in a city that is otherwise quite Dutch and Reformed (but not unified denominationally)? How do this effect the way sociologists utilize this data (a plurality masking other commonalities)?

    Also in the “other” category (I think, I sometimes have trouble with colors) is Ingham county (home of the state capitol – Lansing). What’s the other – having grown up there, Lansing’s not particularly Dutch (or really very interesting), so that doesn’t seem to be the answer? Does the (even more granular) data reveal a hidden pocket or a small plurality that confuses the data even more (or both)?