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West Virginia Among Top 10 Protestant States
By Sally Deneen
West Virginia ranks among the most Protestant states in the nation, Gallup reports, tying with Georgia for fifth place.
According to Gallup's well-being survey, slightly more than half of people polled around the nation consider themselves Protestant or non-Catholic Christian, "making this by far the largest major religious group in the country,"
Nearly three out of four – or 71 percent – of polled West Virginians and Georgians call themselves Protestant, according to Gallup. The only states considered more Protestant are the two that tied for first place, Alabama and Mississippi (where 77 percent identify as Protestant), followed closely by two second-place finishers, Arkansas and Tennessee, and third-place South Carolina and fourth-place Oklahoma.
In some ways, Gallup's findings echo another report, Barna's Most Bible-Minded Cities, which now pegs the Charleston/Huntington area as the nation's 11th most Bible-Minded community (down one notch from 2013) behind the likes of second-place greater Birmingham, Ala., and first-place Chattanooga, Tenn.
But Gallup also zeroes in on Catholicism. Its survey finds that while Southern states are among the most Protestant, the most Catholic states are up North, particularly in New England and the Middle Atlantic, but also Midwest. Rhode Island ranks No. 1, with 54 percent of residents identifying as Catholic, the Gallup report states. Nationally, about one out of four people polled are Catholic – a proportion that has remained steady since 2008, Gallup notes.
West Virginia, by contrast, ties for second place among the nation's least Catholic states, Gallup notes. Only 9 percent of West Virginians identify as Catholic, according to the Gallup phone survey of nearly 180,000 randomly sampled U.S. adults.
New York is deemed most Jewish by the Gallup survey. Utah is the most Mormon state. Jews and Mormons each comprise about 2 percent of U.S. adults polled by Gallup.