Statistically, Americans are largely Christians. Let’s get that out of the way. More Americans identify themselves as Christians than any other religion, and Christianity is the top religion reported in each of the 50 states.
Given that, what becomes interesting is looking at the second most popular religions across the country, and our friends at the Washington Post have taken the latest data from the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies and published some easy-to-follow maps for us all.
Maine-centric as this blog is, we see that, next to Christianity, Judaism is the most popular religion in the Pine Tree State, following a trend that covers almost the entire northeast.
But the mapping fun doesn’t end there. Here are some follow-ups that zero in county-by-county.
Here in Maine, as we see, Judaism has strong representations in Penobscot, Cumberland and Kennebec counties. In two of those counties are Maine’s largest and third largest cities — Portland and Bangor — so it makes sense that big numbers in those places might make Judaism the second largest religion statewide.
But as you can see, there are actually more Maine counties in which Buddhism is the most popular religion, next to Christianity, of course. York, Oxford, Sagadahoc, Washington and Hancock counties all list Buddhism as No. 2.
Only in Androscoggin County — where Maine’s second largest city of Lewiston has a large Somali population — is Islam the second most popular religion.
And over in Waldo County, more people identify as Hindu than any religion other than Christianity.
As for Christianity, Catholicism still has more adherents than any other Christian group, according to the latest numbers and Washington Post piece.
But in two counties, Catholicism was in second place. The United Methodist Church boasts the largest number of adherents in Washington and Piscataquis counties.