Wednesday, January 6, 2010

BC least religious place in North America

Which region of North America is most religious? Least?
Vancouver Sun: If anyone ever argues that Canadians are becoming more like the US every week, here is some data that could provide a quick rebuttal... A new poll shows that the least religious states in the United States of America -- Alaska, Oregon, Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts -- are actually more religious than our entire country.

Canada, and especially British Columbia, is in a starkly different religious and cultural world compared to the high-religion US states, which are topped by Mississippi. That financially poor state is followed by more Deep South neighbours, including Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina and Kentucky.

In Mississippi, the Pew Forum poll found 60 per cent of residents attend a religious institution at least once a week. (The figure doesn't include those who go only twice or thrice a month). The percentage of Canadians who attend a religious institution at least once a week is only 22 per cent. That ties all of Canada with Alaska, which has the absolute lowest attendance rate in the United States.

To emphasize how dramatically different the West Coast of Canada is from Mississippi, reflect on how the rate of weekly attendance in BC is again lower than Canada's national average -- at about 15 per cent...

Go here for a closer look at the fresh US data compiled by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. This subject is also explored in depth in [Douglas Todd's] book Cascadia: The Elusive Utopia -- Exploring the Spirit of the Pacific Northwest.
Image: The percentage of people in North America who identify with a religion as opposed to having 'no religion' (1991), (2001); source here.