America Without Christians: Buddhist West, Muslim South, Jewish Northeast

Take all the Christians out of the United States and these are the biggest religions for each state: a Buddhist West, a Muslim crescent across the South and Midwest, and a Jewish Northeast.

America Without Christians: Buddhist West, Muslim South, Jewish Northeast

Take all the Christians out of the United States (yes, you too, Mormons!), and these are the biggest religions for each state. An interesting pattern emerges: a solidly Buddhist West, a Muslim crescent across the South and Midwest, and a Jewish Northeast.


To be fair, imagining America without Christians is a big ask. Just over 70% of all Americans are affiliated with a branch of the Jesus-based faith – a vast majority of those (46.5%) with one of the Protestant denominations, most others (20.8%) with the Catholic church. 

But America is home to many faiths. The two other Abrahamic faiths are also the biggest of those smaller religions: Judaism (1.9%) and Islam (0.9%). Hinduism and Buddhism, both originating from the Indian subcontinent, each represent 0.7%.

According to the 2014 Pew Forum survey on religion in the U.S., that leaves 1.8% for other religions, and 22.8% for the unaffiliated (atheists, agnostics, 'spiritual but not religious').

In our world, Christianity is the biggest religion in each state of the Union. But in the alternate-universe, non-Christian America of this map, the nation is divided between three main faiths (and two smaller ones).

 

The Muslims dominate the biggest number of states (coloured green), but fall short of an outright majority: they rule the roost in 20 states across the old Confederacy, the Midwest and the Northern Plains. It's a contiguous area, but only just: the North Carolina-Georgia corridor is threatened by a Jewish-Bahai pincer movement. 

Jewish America consists of 15 states (in pink): all of the Northeast, down to Maryland and west to Ohio. Three Jewish outposts – Minnesota, Missouri, Tennessee – almost form a second contiguous kosher zone, if it weren't for the halal stumbling block of Iowa.

The West Coast (plus Alaska and Hawaii) are solidly Buddhist (orange), an area which extends all the way to Oklahoma and Kansas. The 'eastern' leanings of the western U.S. are somewhat reminiscent of the Japanese sphere of influence as described in The Man in the High Castle (see also #700).

Hindus (red) form the majority in two states far away from each other: Arizona and Delaware. The Baha'i faith (light green), numbering no more than a few hundred thousands, manages to capture the state of South Carolina.

Map produced by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies in 2012, based in the 2010 U.S. Religion Census. Found here at the Washington Post.

  

Strange Map #779 

Got a strange map? Let me know at strangemaps@gmail.com

Malcolm Gladwell live | How to re-examine everything you know

Join Radiolab's Latif Nasser at 1pm ET today as he chats with Malcolm Gladwell live on Big Think.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to your calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo


Keep reading Show less

There are 5 eras in the universe's lifecycle. Right now, we're in the second era.

Astronomers find these five chapters to be a handy way of conceiving the universe's incredibly long lifespan.

Image based on logarithmic maps of the Universe put together by Princeton University researchers, and images produced by NASA based on observations made by their telescopes and roving spacecraft

Image source: Pablo Carlos Budassi
Surprising Science
  • We're in the middle, or thereabouts, of the universe's Stelliferous era.
  • If you think there's a lot going on out there now, the first era's drama makes things these days look pretty calm.
  • Scientists attempt to understand the past and present by bringing together the last couple of centuries' major schools of thought.
Keep reading Show less

Ever wonder how LSD works? An answer has been discovered.

UNC School of Medicine researchers identified the amino acid responsible for the trip.

Credit: Motortion Films / Shutterstock
Surprising Science
  • Researchers at UNC's School of Medicine have discovered the protein responsible for LSD's psychedelic effects.
  • A single amino acid—part of the protein, Gαq—activates the mind-bending experience.
  • The researchers hope this identification helps shape depression treatment.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists uncover the brain circuitry that causes mysterious dissociative experiences

A team of researchers have discovered the brain rhythmic activity that can split us from reality.

Mind & Brain
  • Researchers have identified the key rhythmic brain activity that triggers a bizarre experience called dissociation in which people can feel detached from their identity and environment.
  • This phenomena is experienced by about 2 percent to 10 percent of the population. Nearly 3 out of 4 individuals who have experienced a traumatic event will slip into a dissociative state either during the event or sometime after.
  • The findings implicate a specific protein in a certain set of cells as key to the feeling of dissociation, and it could lead to better-targeted therapies for conditions in which dissociation can occur.
Keep reading Show less
Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast