17 Intriguing Facts You Didn’t Know About Religion in the U.S.

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John St John / Flickr

People say America is one of the most religious countries in the world. But is it religious in the way that you think it is?

You’re bound to learn something new in this list:

1) There are as many Mormons in the U.S. today as there are Anglicans/Episcopalians.

1.7% of U.S. adults identify as Mormon, and 1.7% identify as Anglican/Episcopalian. (Source: Pew Forum)

2) Hindus have the highest rates of educational attainment in the U.S. among religious communities.

48% of all Hindus have a post-graduate degree. (Source: Wikipedia)

3) There are currently no Protestants on the Supreme Court, even though about half of the U.S. population identifies as Protestant.

Six of the Supreme Court justices are Catholic and three are Jewish. (Sources: WikipediaPew Forum)

Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

4) Nearly 1 in 5 self-identified atheists in the U.S. report believing in God.

6% believe in a “personal God,” and 12% believe in an “impersonal force.” (Source: Pew Forum)

5) There are only two religious groups in the U.S. where a majority of their followers deny that “many religions can lead to eternal life”: Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

39% of Mormons and just 16% of Jehovah’s Witnesses say they believe that “many religions can lead to eternal life. Conversely, 66% of Protestants, including 57% of evangelical Protestants, and a whopping 79% of Catholics say they believe that. (Source: Pew Forum)

6) Only 10 U.S. states have weekly church attendance above 50%, and they’re all in the south, with one exception.

They are Mississippi (63%), Alabama (58%), Louisiana (56%), South Carolina (56%), Utah (56%), Tennessee (54%), Arkansas (53%), North Carolina (53%), Georgia (51%), and Texas (50%). (Source: Wikipedia)

Weekly church attendance by state / Falcorian / Wikipedia
Weekly church attendance by state / Falcorian / Wikipedia

7) There are 11 U.S. states that have weekly church attendance below 33%.

They are Connecticut (32%), Rhode Island (32%), Washington (32%), Alaska (31%), Hawaii (31%), Oregon (31%), Nevada (30%), Massachusetts (29%), Maine (27%), New Hampshire (26%), and Vermont (23%). (Source: Wikipedia)

8) The Southern Baptist Convention has twice as many churches in the U.S. as the Catholic Church, despite claiming 1/4th as many members.

The Southern Baptist Convention reports having about 40,000 churches and 16.5 million members; the Catholic reports having about 20,000 churches and 66.4 million members (Source: Wikipedia)

9) The first Muslims in the U.S. were African slaves.

About 10% of the African slaves brought to the U.S. were Muslim. (Source: Wikipedia)

Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

10) There are more African-American Catholics than there are Episcopalians of any race.

There are about 2.3 million Episcopalians and 2.6 million African-American Catholics in the U.S.. (Sources: Wikipedia, Wikipedia)

11) Only 1.6% of the U.S. population was Catholic in 1776.

Today, about 25% of the U.S. population identifies as Catholic. (Source: Wikipedia)

12) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the fifth largest religious organization in the U.S., with 5.8 million members.

Only four other religious organizations have more members: the Catholic Church (66 million), the Southern Baptism Convention (16.5 million), the United Methodist Church (8.4 million), and the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc. (8.2 million).  (Source: Wikipedia)

Salt Lake Temple /  Entheta / Wikimedia Commons
Salt Lake Mormon Temple / Entheta / Wikimedia Commons

13) 40% of the U.S.’s 1.2 million Buddhists live in Southern California.

(Source: Wikipedia)

14) Only about 9,000 people today practice traditional Native American religions.

(Source: Wikipedia)

15) Only 6 U.S. presidents have claimed no denominational affiliation: 5 in the 19th century and 1 in the 21st century. From 1861-1881, no president claimed a denominational affiliation; all presidents in the 20th century claimed a denominational affiliation.

The six presidents to claim no denominational affiliation are Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809), Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865), Andrew Johnson (1865-1869), Ulysses Grant (1869-1877), Rutherford Hayes (1877-1881), and Barack Obama (2009-present). President Obama was a member of the United Church of Christ from 1992 to 2008, when he left the denomination after controversial statements by his pastor were publicized. (Sources: Wikipedia, Wikipedia)

Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

16) There has only been 1 Catholic president and 1 Catholic vice-president.

Former president John F. Kennedy identified as Catholic, and current Vice-President Joe Biden identifies as Catholic. (Sources: Wikipedia, Wikipedia)

17) The east face of the top of the Washington Monument says “Laus Deo,” Latin for “praise God.”

As the sun rises every morning in the east, this is one of the first things illuminated by the sun. (Source: Wikipedia)