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Gallup: Utah becoming more religiously diverse

Utah is becoming more religiously diverse while Idaho and Wyoming have the second and third largest concentrations of Latter-day Saints — 19 percent and 10 percent, respectively, according to an analysis released by the Gallup Poll on Friday.According to Frank Newport, Gallup's editor in chief: \"Mormons, who make up about 2 percent of the U.S population, have the most extremely differentiated geographic pattern of any of the religious groups used in this analysis, with the highest concentrations, as would be expected, in and around the state of Utah.Sixty-one percent of Utah residents interviewed by Gallup identified (themselves) as Mormons.But for Newport, the news was the growing percentage of non-Mormons in Utah.\"Although this is by far the highest concentration of Mormons in any state, the fact that about 4 out of 10 Utah residents are not Mormon underscores that Utah has a more diverse religious population than has been the case in previous decades, and certainly in the 19th century, when Brigham Young brought his band of religious followers across the country to settle in the territory that later became Utah.\"In the survey, 13.4 percent of Utahns interviewed said they were Protestant or \"other Christian\" and 9.6 percent said they were Catholic. Some 12.9 percent said they had no religion or were atheist or agnostic. Results are based on telephone interviews with 178,543 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Jan. 2 to June 30, 2009, as part of Gallup Poll Daily tracking. (For margin of errors, please click on the survey.)Not surprising, Newport reported two other states contiguous to Utah also have above-average percentages of Mormons — Arizona at 6 percent and Nevada at 5 percent. A number of states, mostly in the Midwest and East, have less than a 1 percent Mormon population.Non-Catholic Christians now constitute the largest U.S. religious group in the country today, at 54.1 percent.\"The state with the lowest proportion of non-Catholic Christians is Utah,\" Newport wrote. \"The large percentage of Utah residents who are Mormon reduces all other religious categories to low representations.\"While Utah has the largest proportion of residents of any one faith, Rhode Island comes in second, with 53 percent of its residents identifying themselves as Catholics.The proportion of non-Catholic Christians is highest in the South — the traditional Bible Belt. \"States that rank highest in terms of concentrations of non-Catholic Christians are Southern or on the fringes of the South; Mississippi and Alabama are at the top, with 81percent and 80 percent Protestant/other Non-Catholic Christian, respectively,\" the report said.Other findings from the research — Americans with no religious identity at all tend to be found most frequently in the Northeast and Northwest (plus Hawaii). Oregon tops the list of states with residents claiming no religious identity. In Oregon, about 25 percent of its residents claim no particular religious identity, followed closely by Vermont at 24 percent. Other states with at least 20 percent \"no religion\" are Washington, Alaska, New Hampshire, Hawaii and Maine.The states with the highest religious identification include Mississippi, where only 6 percent do not have a religion, followed by Alabama, Arkansas, North Dakota and Louisiana.About 24 percent of all American adults identified themselves as Catholic. New England and Mid-Atlantic states have the highest concentrations of Catholics. Jews are concentrated most in Mid-Atlantic states.