Apr 3, 2024 - Culture

Arkansas is one of the most church-going states

Share of adults who say they never or rarely attend religious services
Data: Household Pulse Survey; Note: Adults who say they never attend or attend less than once a year; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Thirty-nine percent of Arkansas adults say they never or seldom attend church or religious services, compared to the national average of 49%, per a new analysis of Household Pulse Survey data from Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Alice Feng.

By the numbers: 13% of Arkansas residents attend services 1-3 times a year, 5% attend 4-11 times per year, and 30% attend 12 or more times.

  • The only states where a larger share of adults attend church 12 times or more a year are Utah (38%) and Mississippi (34%).

Zoom out: Vermont (75%), along with New Hampshire and Maine (both 66%) have the highest share of adults who say they never or seldom attend church or religious services.

  • Mississippi (32%), Alabama (36%) and Louisiana (37%) have the lowest shares, with Arkansas right behind them.

The big picture: More than three-quarters of Americans say religion's role in public life is shrinking, per a recent Pew Research Center survey — the most since the group first started tracking such sentiment in 2001.

  • Many Americans are unhappy about that, with about half of adults telling Pew both that "religion is losing influence and that this is a bad thing."
  • About 57% of adults say religion has a positive impact on American life, per Pew.

Friction point: Nearly half of U.S. adults, or 48%, say they feel at least "some" tension between their religious beliefs and mainstream culture, Pew found.

  • That's up from 42% in 2020.

Zoom in: A separate Gallup survey published in March found that Latter-day Saints are the only religious group wherein a majority (54%) say they attend services weekly.

  • 30% of Protestants say they attend services weekly, compared to 28% of Muslims, 23% of Catholics and 16% of Jews.

Yes, but: Religious-service attendance has been dropping for decades, per Gallup, driven largely by "the increase in the percentage of Americans with no religious affiliation — 9% in 2000-2003 versus 21% in 2021-2023."


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios NW Arkansas.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More NW Arkansas stories

No stories could be found

NW Arkansaspostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios NW Arkansas.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more