The “Nones” in America: An Interactive Map and a Conjecture

CLR Forum reader Robin Charlow sends along a fascinating interactive map (a few years old, now, but still), that shows the distribution of religious affiliations across the United States, including the new, possibly growing category of the “unaffiliated,” also known as the “nones.” The “unaffiliated” seem disproportionately represented  in two corners: the Pacific Northwest and New England (except for Massachusetts, where the percentage, 17%, is close to the national number). Why should that be? Here’s a thought. New England Protestant missionaries like the Whitmans were very influential in the settlement of the Pacific Northwest in the 19th Century. It wouldn’t be surprising if the missionaries created a religious culture that, thousands of miles away, resembled what they had left behind and continued to evolve in a similar way. Is Oregon the westernmost legacy of the Puritans? Could be.

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