Estonians have branded themselves as the least religious European nation according to a new Gallup poll that lends credence to the notion that faith is closely tied to living standards.

The northern Baltic state abutting Russia and Latvia counts only 14% of its population as believers. Nearby Sweden and and Denmark ranked similarly at under 20%. The Gallup people said highly developed countries with a strong social welfare state tend to see lower levels of religiosity. The United States ranks highest among developed countries with two-thirds of the population professing their faith. Much regional variation is noted in the US however with southern states resembling "tribal societies in Southern Africa" but with only 42% of Vermonters going to church.