SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Provo-Orem area of Utah is the most religious metropolitan area in the United States, a new Gallup poll shows.
A survey of about 190 metropolitan areas released Friday found 77 percent of Provo-Orem residents are classified as “very religious.” That’s based on respondents saying religion is an important part of their daily life and they attend religious services nearly every week.
Utah’s Ogden-Clearfield metro area also ranked near the top of the list, with 55 percent of residents considered very religious. Salt Lake City, the state’s largest metropolitan area, was farther down at 47 percent.
The results underscore the prevalence of devout Mormons in those areas, which all have Mormon temples. Provo also is home to the Mormon-church’s flagship university, Brigham Young University, and has the church’s main missionary training center.
Provo Mayor John R. Curtis said he’s not surprised by the area’s ranking.
“It’s part of our heritage, I think,” Curtis said. “Like much of Utah, Provo was founded by religious pioneers that came here so they could have religious freedom. I think that’s a big part of who we are.”
The survey found the country’s least religious cities to be Burlington, Vt., and Boulder, Colo., with 17 percent of residents classified as highly religious.
Most of the cities found to be highly religious were in the South, while the least religious were generally on the East and West Coasts.
The survey, which was conducted last year, also found that throughout the country, approximately 40 percent of Americans are classified as very religious.
About 31 percent of Americans are classified as nonreligious for saying religion is not an important part of their daily life and they rarely or never attend services. Another 29 percent are classified as moderately religious.
The study also found Utah is tied with Alabama for the second most religious state after Mississippi.