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Only 25 Percent of Nutmeggers Attend Church Weekly, Poll Says

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Despite a large Roman Catholic population, CT is near the bottom of states when it comes to weekly church attendance.

Connecticut ranks near the bottom of the list when it comes to weekly church attendance, according to a new Gallup poll on religion in the United States.

Gallup's annual poll of church, synagogue and mosque attendance ranked Utah, with its high concentration of Mormons, at the top of the list.

Fifty-one percent of Utah's residents attend church at least once a week. Evangelical Christians and Southern Baptists lifted Southern states, like Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana near the top of the list.

Connecticut ranked 45th in the poll, with the rest of New England scoring near or at the bottom. "In New England there is this kind of -- for religion -- a corrosive culture, and I think it's accelerating," said David Roozen, Director of Hartford Seminary's Institute for Religious Research.

Roozen said the poll reflects a cultural divide between the north and south's attitudes toward religion. "The south still has a strongly religious culture," he said. "You go down to the south, people don't hesitate to talk about religion. Your neighbors are going to ask what your religion is. In New England, we don't do that so much. Religion isn't that important a piece of a person's identity."

Connecticut is in the bottom ten states for attendance of religious services.
Credit Gallup
Connecticut is in the bottom ten states for attendance of religious services.

Roozen was surprised at Connecticut's 25 percent church turnout in the poll, given the state's large Roman Catholic population -- roughly 43 percent of the state's overall population, according to a 2013 Pew survey. "Catholics traditionally have had a strong emphasis on mass participation, mass attendance," he said. "So to see such low overall levels of weekly attendance is somewhat surprising."

Vermont had the lowest church attendance at 17 percent. Roozen said that nationwide, regular church attendance has dropped significantly in the last 20 years of Gallup religion polls.

Ray Hardman is Connecticut Public’s Arts and Culture Reporter. He is the host of CPTV’s Emmy-nominated original series Where Art Thou? Listeners to Connecticut Public Radio may know Ray as the local voice of Morning Edition, and later of All Things Considered.

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