New research shows where church attendance is highest and lowest

New research shows where church attendance is highest and lowest
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It's often warmly referred to as "the Bible Belt" but church attendance is actually higher in one Western state than in the South, according to new research released this week.

Polling outfit Gallup published new data this week after crunching the state-by-state numbers on how many residents worship in the house of God of their choice regularly, and found Mississippi and Alabama come in second and third with 47 percent and 46 percent reporting weekly attendance respectively.

Vermonters are the least likely to head to church on Sundays, according to Gallup, with only 17 percent reporting weekly church attendance. Fellow Northeastern states New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts rounded out the top four states where residents are most likely to skip services.

"Church attendance self-reports are estimates, and may not reflect precise week in and week out attendance, but provide an important measure of the way in which Americans view their personal, underlying religiosity," Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport noted in his assessment of the findings.

For the full list of church attendance rankings, check out the gallery above. Are you surprised by the results? Tell us in the comments.