Religion in the US – A Sociological Overview (With Lots of Visuals)

First, compared to the rest of the world, the US is more religious than other rich countries but less than poorer countries:

Represented in a scatterplot, it is clear that the US is an outlier compared to other high-income, post-industrial countries:

In a bar chart form, this is how US religiosity compares to other countries:

At the same time, there is a great deal of diversity in religiosity within the United States:

One can establish a definite correlation between wealth and religiosity both between and within countries. In the United States, these differences take place in the context of high religiosity for a wealthy country.

Similarly, there is diversity in the type of denominations to which Americans belong (based on the 2000 census):

This picture illustrates both clustering and diversity. There is a great level of diversity in the number of (mostly) Christian denominations but there is quite a good amount of clustering, that is, of denominational predominance in different parts of the United States.

Similarly, there are major differences along the different dimensions of religiosity:

Here again, the Southern stand out. What could explain such differences by state, beyond economics and wealth? The table below reveals other correlations:

Does religion cause social ills? This graph mostly shows correlations rather than cause and effect. But what research has shown is that social insecurity is strongly correlated with higher religiosity. The Southern US states tend to be economically and socially more insecure, and therefore, more prone to higher religiosity.


Note: This is an archived article by SocProf the author of this article