Abortion’s Regional Divide

Centuries-old settlement patterns created the geographic contours of the contemporary abortion debate, corrosive effects on the bonds that hold the union together

Support for abortion bans in the American Nations regionsCredit: John Liberty/Motivf for Nationhood Lab

By Colin Woodard

We talk a lot about U.S. regional divides here at Nationhood Lab, from gun violence and political behavior to health indices and life expectancy. But few issues in American life have created the kind of de jure threats to the survival of the federation as abortion has in the year and a half since six conservative Supreme Court justices ended women’s half-century old constitutional right to abort a pregnancy.

States across the South and interior West moved immediately to not only ban abortion, but to criminalize their residents obtaining one – or helping someone obtain one —  in states where it was completely legal. Texas allows civil suits against any entity that provides funds or assistance to someone trying to obtain an out-of-state abortion and South Dakota law opens the possibility that out-of-state medical providers could face criminal charges for filling a mail order prescription for federally-approved abortion drugs. Alabama’s attorney general says anyone helping an Alabaman to obtain an out-of-state abortion has engaged in a criminal conspiracy.

At the same time, states in the northeast and Pacific coasts moved to protect reproductive rights and have declared other state’s anti-abortion laws to be inapplicable in their courts. Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Delaware now prohibit law enforcement from cooperating with abortion investigations or answering legal summons by pro-life states. Maine Gov. Janet Mills – a career state prosecutor and former state attorney general — issued an executive order prohibiting authorities from arresting or surrendering an individual for these new crimes on behalf of an anti-abortion state’s government. California legislators passed laws that prohibit companies, tech goliaths, and government agencies from providing personal data or medical data to out-of-state abortion investigators.

Together, these regional divides amount to what George Washington University law professor Paul Berman has called “the biggest set of nationwide conflicts of law problems since the era of the Fugitive Slave Act before the Civil War,” when Southern states began forcing northerners to apprehend any Black person they claimed had escaped from slavery and, without due process, return them to bondage.

The distribution of pro- and anti-abortion states is by no means random. Rather it follows distressingly familiar regional patterns. Here at Nationhood Lab we parse regional phenomena using the American Nations model, which defines and delineates U.S. regions based on history and settlement geography, not arbitrary state boundaries. (These regional cultures are described in detail in American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, but we’ve created a capsule summary of them here at Nationhood Lab.) The effect of those centuries-old settlement cultures is readily apparent when parsing the geography of abortion policy.

All regions support abortion rights, but by varying degrees

As of this writing, 14 states have fully banned abortion and seven others have restricted the procedure to earlier in the pregnancy than allowed by Roe v. Wade, the case the Supreme Court overturned in their controversial 2022 Dobbs decision. Together they include every state controlled by the Deep South or Greater Appalachia, plus two Far Western-controlled states and  four – Missouri, the Dakotas, and Nebraska – with mixed Midlands and Far Western control.

By contrast, abortion remains legal and unchallenged in every state controlled by Yankeedom, New Netherland, Tidewater, Left Coast, and Greater Polynesia, and most of those states have increased protections since the Dobbs ruling. Lawmakers in Ohio, a state with large Yankee and Midlands sections but a Greater Appalachian plurality, tried to ban the procedure as well, but were stymied by the public via a ballot measure, and the same thing happened in Midlands-controlled Kansas.

We were curious if public attitudes toward abortion mirrored these patterns. Most sources provide only national- or state-level data, which is unhelpful because America’s real cultural regions often ignore state boundaries. One exception is the Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape Project, which engaged in one of the most ambitious and detailed polls of the U.S. electorate ever undertaken. Each week from July 2019 to January 2021, they surveyed approximately 6250 Americans about a vast range of policy questions, political attitudes and other preferences – including several questions related to abortion — yielding over a half million interviews overall. The respondents were coded by their congressional district and we were able to assign each of those (116th Congress) districts to an American Nations region based on a careful examination of the county-level population breakdowns of each district. (Two of the smallest “nations” – Greater Polynesia and First Nation – didn’t have enough respondents to parse this data in a reliable way so we’ve had to exclude them from this analysis.)

This exercise confirmed what many others have found: Americans are much closer together on abortion than the actions of their elected leaders would suggest. Supermajorities in every American Nations region reject an outright ban on abortion, and large majorities in each region believe the procedure should be legal for additional reasons beyond incest, rape, and the life of the mother. If public will were followed, no state would have an outright ban. But many do, and this is where margins of opposition and the settlement history of our continent become essential to understanding the situation.

The survey revealed substantial regional differences in the levels of opposition to abortion. Support for a total ban is nearly twice as high in New France (30.9%) than in the Left Coast (15.5%) and the gaps between Deep South (25.1%) and Greater Appalachia (27.1%) on one hand and Yankeedom (17.1%), Tidewater, El Norte, New Netherland (all 19.5%), Spanish Caribbean (19.9%), and Far West (19.4%) on the other are significant. There’s a similar regional pattern – and up to 14-point gaps – in opposition to abortions for reasons other than rape, incest, or saving the life of the mother, what scholars term as “traumatic” (as opposed to “elective”) reasons.

When it comes to implementing coercive measures to make abortion services harder to access – like imposing mandatory waiting periods or allowing employers to deny insurance coverage for them – the regions are in outright disagreement. Pluralities in those same three conservative “nations” – Deep South, Greater Appalachia, and New France – support these measures, while the other nations oppose them, creating a 19-point gap between Left Coast and New France on the insurance question and a 13.5-point one in waiting periods.

There are two takeaways thus far. First, there are big gaps between the three “Dixie” regions and most everyone else, with the Midlands lying, as per historical form, in between. Secondly there’s the question as to why pro-life forces have had such an outsized influence over policy in states controlled by the Dixie regions and/or the Midlands and Far West, given they still represent a minority of the population.

It’s the religious geography, stupid

As a cultural historian, one hypothesis I wanted to test was whether pro-life forces were getting a boost in these regions because they might have more patriarchal cultural attitudes. Nationscape asked several questions that get at this, including if respondents would prefer to have a male boss, if they thought women were as capable of “thinking logically as men,” and if women who complain about harassment “often cause more problems then they solve.” As it turns out, in every region only small minorities reject female equality in these questions, including pluralities of male respondents in most regions. Intriguingly, the regional gaps that opened up between the genders – think of them as sexism indicators – were greatest in New Netherland and Left Coast. (Yankeedom and the Midlands were the least sexist in this regard.) More men in New Netherland and New France agreed with the statement about women reporting harassment than disagreed, the only regions where that was the case.  And there was almost no gender gap at all on abortion in southern regions, but there was a double digit one in New Netherland. Are the high-pressure professional environs of the Big Apple, Silicon Valley, and Seattle the most sexist places in the country? This is an avenue for further research, but it’s clear from this data that patriarchy and sexism don’t explain the regional patterns we saw on abortion.

We then segmented the respondents by religion and…bingo.

Nationscape asked respondents their religion and whether they considered themselves evangelical or not. This allowed us to compare abortion attitudes across regions for Catholics, Mainline (non-evangelical) Protestants, Evangelical Protestants, and the unchurched, and even to do segmentation for white and (in some regions) Hispanic Catholics and white and Black Evangelicals. (Even with 500,000 respondents, the data wasn’t rich enough to confidently parse smaller religious groups like Jews, Buddhists, Mormons, Muslims, or Orthodox Christians across the regions.) The gaps were stark, profound, and broadly consistent across the regions.

As you can see in the chart above, white Evangelicals are extreme outliers on this issue in every region, support for abortion bans is driven almost entirely by white Evangelicals, who are roughly five times more likely to take this hardline position than their mainline Protestant counterparts, who are more pro-choice than even the unchurched in most of the “nations.”  Catholics are in the middle, slightly more pro-choice than the mean citizen in the Deep South and Midlands and slightly more pro-life in the rest of the regions. (Other polls have consistently shown Black Protestants to be pro-choice and we also found that for the regions where their numbers were large enough to calculate.)

You’ll also notice that within religious traditions there’s variation by region, with Catholics more likely to hold pro-choice opinions in Left Coast, Yankeedom and the Midlands than in the Deep South or Greater Appalachia. White Evangelicals are a bit more moderate Tidewater and Left Coast but most pro-life in New Netherland (where they constitute just 2.8% of the population.) Louisiana’s New France enclave is an outlier across the board, with every group substantially more pro-life than in the other regions. (More on that later.)

Could the regional maldistribution of white Evangelicals account for much of the difference in abortion opinion? The Public Religion Research Institute – the Washington, D.C.-based think tank – has the best county-level estimates of various types of religious adherents and they kindly shared their 2020 Census of American Religion data with us. It turns out the answer is “yes.”

Here is the percent of the population of each of the American Nations that is white Evangelical:

Credit: John Liberty/Motivf for Nationhood Lab.

Compare this with Figure 1 above – support for a total abortion ban — and notice the similarities. We’d like to have been able to show county-level correlations against the Nationscape data but, alas, the latter is only coded at the Congressional District level. But recent abortion-related ballot measures in several states give us an opportunity to test county-level relationships in the post-Dobbs world.

In Ohio, where voters were asked last November to approve a constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights, the county-level correlations between the percent of voters who opposed the measure and the percent of the population who are white Evangelical were very high. We calculated the Pearson correlation coefficients, in which a +1.0 indicates a perfect and complete correlation between two variables, a 0 indicates there is absolutely no relationship, and a -1.0 indicates a perfect negative relationship. In the Yankee-settled Western Reserve the Pearson bivariate correlation was an extremely robust 0.82 and in Greater Appalachia 0.89. In the Midlands it was a somewhat weaker 0.49, suggesting additional factors are also at play, which we’ll get to in a minute.

The white evangelical factor was similarly robust for both Yankeedom and Greater Appalachia in other states that held abortion votes in 2023. In Michigan (which lies entirely within Yankeedom) the correlation with casting a pro-life vote was 0.75, while in Kentucky (entirely Greater Appalachian) it was 0.79. When Kansas voted on the issue, the correlation in its Greater Appalachian section – which comprises 11.5% of the state’s population – was 0.75. (Its populous, largely urbanized Midland section had a higher correlation, 0.71, than we saw in the more rural Ohio Midlands.)

When California voted on the issue the white Evangelical correlation was 0.74 in the state’s Left Coast section, 0.56 in the Far West, and a very weak 0.14 in El Norte. The latter region has very few white Evangelicals so, by way of comparison, we ran the numbers for Hispanic Catholics and also found a weak relationship of 0.29. (In the Left Coast, curiously, this number was 0.74, suggesting regional cultural differences are playing a role.) The Far Western section of Kansas, by the way, had a white Evangelical correlation of 0.40, broadly similar to that seen in California, suggesting the Evangelical effect on this issue is not as strong in that region; more on that to come.

So, to summarize: the difference in abortion opinion is closely tied to the presence of white Evangelicals, who are extreme outliers on the issue. Recent votes on the issue show that relationship is especially acute in Greater Appalachia, Yankeedom, and the Left Coast; strong in the Midlands and Far West; but weak in El Norte. We don’t have fresh, post-Dobbs data for the Deep South (because, not coincidently, most states there don’t allow citizen ballot initiatives) or New Netherland (because abortion in not being challenged within New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut.)

Making a Minority Position Stick

            Recall that majorities in every region oppose abortion bans, but that in states controlled by the Deep South, Greater Appalachia, the Midlands, Far West or some combination thereof, white Evangelicals have gotten their way nonetheless. How?

            Academics have been asking this question for decades and have come to some broad conclusions. From their fight against gay marriage in the early 2000s to wanting to ban abortion today, white Evangelicals succeed in states where they’ve been able to capture intermediary institutions like state (Republican) parties, (the Republican caucuses of) legislatures, or the executive branch. “Successes have been achieved,” sociologists Rebecca Sager and Keith Bentele concluded in a study of how and where faith-based legislation passed between 1996 and 2009, primarily “through effective utilization of an existing political institution, the Republican Party.”

It turns out Evangelical churches are excellent training grounds for political organizing. “Places of worship provide a natural foundation for organizing, a place where people are showing up every week and maybe serving on a board or volunteering at all sorts of events,” says Christopher Scheitle, professor of political science at West Virginia University. “And Evangelical churches have this entrepreneurial spirit and they don’t have to seek approval from a hierarchy of a bishop to set up associated non-profits like sports camps or publishing houses, which get people in the pews involved.”

An organized minority can get a long way, but numbers still matter. It’s one thing to capture a state political party, legislative majority, or gubernatorial administration if you’re group represents 20 or 30% of the population, quite another if it’s only 2, 8, or 10%, which is why white Evangelicals are not getting their way in New Netherland and Yankeedom. Allies can help, of course. A 2022 PRRI survey on the issue found Latter Day Saints (LDS, the dominant Mormon denomination) to be the only group whose abortion opinions come close to that of white Evangelicals – their church allows for abortion in traumatic circumstances  — and the two Far Western states that have restricted the procedure are also the states with the largest LDS constituencies in the country: 56% of Utah’s population and 20% of Idaho’s.

“You have a lot of LDS activists who take up the Catholic belief that life begins at conception, even though the church is less explicit about this,” notes the University of Oklahoma historian Jennifer Holland, author of Tiny You: A Western History of the Anti-Abortion Movement. Holland discovered the pro-life movement in the interior West was founded and continues to be led by members of the tiny white Catholic minority — even in Mormon Utah. “In the inter-mountain West, a lot of states aren’t like the U.S. South which has these very strong Evangelical majorities, they’re multiracial and multireligious, so the groups have to negotiate with each other.”

Centuries-old settlement cultures begat modern religious geography

Which leaves us with the big underlying question when it comes to the geography of abortion opinion: why are white Evangelicals so maldistributed across the U.S.? The answer lies with, yes, the centuries old rival colonization projects that created the distinct regional cultures and the religious ethos that took root in each.

First, Evangelicals are an overwhelming force in the three big southern regions, as you can see in this map from the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies’ 2020 US Religion Census. Notice the remarkable degree of affinity with the American Nations borders. But why?

Data: ASARB U.S. Religion Census 2020; Map Credit: John Liberty/Motivf for Nationhood Lab

In many respects, the Deep South, Tidewater, and Greater Appalachia seem the least likely places for an Evangelical Bible Belt to have formed. In the 18th century, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia were de jure Anglican – the Church of England was the official, taxpayer-financed church – and de facto unchurched. Presbyterian and Evangelical preachers from the Yankeedom, the Midlands, New Netherland and Great Britain followed the Scots-Irish as they pushed through the uplands of Virginia in the late 1740s, but they encountered a ribald culture where, as one reported, the Sabbath was observed by drinking, “some fighting, some swearing, some playing tricks…hunting, sporting, and shooting at marks, horse-racing, jumping and foot-racing.” Even in the lowland parishes, church attendance far lower than in the northern colonies, with church-going a minority activity among whites in many parishes. (Enslaved people’s exposure to Christian services depended on the whims and orders of their masters.)  

Early Evangelical missionaries had a hard go of it. They forbid drinking, gambling, swearing, fighting, and all manner of other popular activities, which didn’t help recruitment, and their practices threatened the region’s power structures. Preachers welcomed women and African Americans into fellowship, cast aspersions on slavery, and encouraged followers to regard one another as family, regardless of race, class and marital status. They encouraged intense spiritual introspection in a culture where this had not been a feature, provoking sobbing, shrieking, writhing, shouting, and other emotional displays that frightened friends and family. “Evangelicals, far from dominating the South, were viewed by most whites as odd at best and subversive at worst,” writes University of Delaware historian Christine Leigh Heyrman, whose Southern Cross: The Beginnings of the Bible Belt, is the definitive text on these early efforts.

Until they adapted to the cultures around, that is. Starting around 1800, evangelical Baptist and Methodist missionaries in these regions stopped criticizing slavery and trying to monitor white men’s private conduct or to interfere in their regional “culture of honor,” whereby insults or slights are dissuaded with disproportionately violent responses. Clergy asserted absolute authority over their churches – like a master over his plantation – cracking down on outspoken women and driving Blacks into segregated, slave lord-approved churches. Camp meetings adopted a manly, martial vibe, with morning bugle calls, marches to the altar, and posted rules enforced by “dog-whippers,” guards with special insignia attached to their coats who patrolled the grounds. A few decades later, southern Baptists and Methodists would break from their northern counterparts over their support of slavery, which is where the Southern Baptist Convention and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South come from.

 “It’s not too much of an oversimplification to say that what happens in the South between 1780 and the Civil War is that the religion, evangelicalism, adapts to the culture,” Heyrman told me. “This is one of the things my students have a hard time wrapping their heads around: the evangelicalism in the North is in many ways a very different animal than in the evangelical South.”

And while northern Evangelicals faced ever-increasing competition from other groups – home-grown rivals like the Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists, or Christian Scientists and immigrant-powered Catholic, Lutheran, Orthodox Christian, and Jewish congregations – to a surprising degree, their southern counterparts had the field to themselves. Most Anglican priests had fled to England when the Civil War broke out making westward religious expansion impossible, while the Presbyterians’ reliance on university-educated clergy made it unable to keep up with denominations that made do with unlettered, barely paid itinerant pastors on the expanding frontier. The three southern regions’ feudal nature repelled the immigrants of the  great immigration wave of 1880 to 1924 causing them  to be nearly bereft of Catholics, Jews, Orthodox Christians and other non-Evangelicals until the 1980s.

Foreign Born population per capita, 1900 – Census Bureau; Illustration adapted by John Liberty/Motivf for Nationhood Lab

It’s within these region’s religious monoculture that opposition to abortion is strongest.

The map above illustrates the per capita immigrant population per county in 1990. Compare it with the earlier map we showed you of the dominant religion per county today. Notice that outside the South, Catholics (in blue) are the largest single religious group. This is a legacy of what’s depicted in the map just above these words, that great turn of the century immigration wave (which focused on Yankeedom, the Midlands, New Netherland and Left Coast) plus ongoing immigration from Mexico and Central America (to El Norte.) Notice also the scattered (northern) Methodist belt in the Midlands. Both of these denominations are moderate on abortion, which has increased the divides between the regions on the issue. (As previously mentioned Mormons, in grey, are second only to Evangelicals in their opposition.) Incidentally, Unitarian-Universalists, inheritors of the New England Enlightenment tradition that elite circles in Antebellum Massachusetts, are the most abortion-friendly denomination in the country with 85% of adherents saying the procedure should be legal in most or all cases.

You’ll have noticed that Louisiana’s New France enclave is far and away the most conservative on this issue, despite being less than 16% white Evangelical. This is because Catholics in this enclave are far more socially conservative than U.S. Catholics at large. As Tulane University political scientist Brian Brox told FiveThirtyEight, in Louisiana “Catholics are actually going to be both socially and politically closer to evangelical Protestants than a Catholic in Massachusetts or a Catholic in California.” The Nationscape data showed 33.9% of Catholics there supported a ban whereas those in the other regions fell between 18.8 and 28.7%. The region’s white Evangelicals are more supportive of a total abortion ban (47% of them) than even their Deep Southern (42%) or Greater Appalachian (44%) counterparts. The enclave – product of victims of Britain’s ethnic cleansing of Francophones from what is now Maritime Canada seeking refuge in France’s Louisiane colony in the mid-18th century — long voted in counter-distinction to the Protestant, Anglophone Deep Southerners around them. But despite being subject to discrimination these Cajuns – derived from the French term Acadien – assimilated Deep Southern practices, becoming slaveholders in the Antebellum era, Jim Crow enthusiasts in the early 20th century, and segregationists in 1960s. When the interracially-minded Catholic archdiocese tried to maintain integrated parochial schools and church services — or promoted labor rights for Black sugar plantation workers – the Cajun laity (and Catholic business elite) rebelled, forcing the Church to conform to local mores, a story documented by College of the Holy Cross historian Justin D Poché. In the early 21st century the region – spurned in no small part by abortion –followed the Deep South into the Republican camp.

Tidewater, as you may have noticed, no longer allies with Deep South and Greater Appalachia the way it did for most of the 19th and 20th centuries. As noted in American Nations (2011), the legacy culture of Tidewater has been decomposing since the late 1960s due its inability to expand westward (due to the presence of the Greater Appalachian settlers) and the ever-expanding federal presence around the District of Columbia and Hampton Roads, site of the world’s largest naval base. As documented here at Nationhood Lab, the region gone from the capital of a white supremacist confederation to one of the most liberal and progressive regions in the country as seen in politics, health metrics, foundational moral values, and attitudes toward threats to democracy. This turns out to be true of patriarchal attitudes and abortion opinion as well, making it difficult to restrict the procedure in Delaware, Maryland or even Virginia (which has a large, very conservative Appalachian section that keeps the state politically competitive.) The region is now only 17.9% white Evangelical, less even than the Midlands

The three other southern regions – and the two Far Western states with large Mormon constituencies – form the backbone of the abortion counterrevolution and are countered by states controlled by Yankeedom, New Netherland, Left Coast, Tidewater and El Norte, where Catholic opinion is moderate, Evangelicals and Mormons are few in number, and Jews, Buddhists, Muslims and other non-Christians are not an inconsequential part of the electorate.

That leaves the Midlands, however, which occupies a middle ground. Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota all have big Midlands blocks and have restricted or banned abortion and policymakers in Ohio and (Midlands-dominated) Kansas tried to do the same, and were narrowly backed by Midlanders in the Buckeye State. Fewer than one in five Midlanders support an abortion ban or are white Evangelical and Mormons are a vanishingly few in number, but the region has a large number of pro-life Protestant denominations that are not usually categorized as evangelical, like the Mennonite Church-USA, Amish, Brethren, and Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. The presence of these groups — descendants of a multicultural settlement stream kicked off by the liberal immigration policies of 17th century Pennsylvania’s Quaker elite – makes the it easier to build anti-abortion coalitions in the Midlands than in, say, Yankeedom or even the Far West.

All of this history, data, and analysis makes Arizona Republicans’ recent hardline actions on abortion all the more perplexing. Here’s a politically competitive state dominated by El Norte with vanishingly few white Evangelicals where only 7 percent of residents support an abortion ban. And yet immediately after the Dobbs decision in 2022, Republican legislators and then-Gov. Doug Doucey enacted a law banning the procedure after 15 weeks without exceptions for rape or incest. In April the Arizona Supreme Court – which Doucey had “packed” or expanded by two seats so as to create a conservative majority – ruled that an 1864 law created by a territorial legislature a half century before Arizona became a state and decades before women could vote was the law of the land, imposing a near-total ban on the procedure. Republican state senators then blocked a Democratic effort to put forward legislation to repeal that law, a move anticipated to help Democrats win at all levels in November, even though a few GOP defectors later helped overturn the legislation. Our analysis suggests this is correct, and that the citizen referenda that will be on the ballot to overturn the law will pass by a wide margin.

In Florida — where six in 10 people live within the Deep Souththe state Supreme Court in April greenlighted a six-week abortion ban, but that could be overturned in November, if 60 percent of voters there decide to ensure abortion access via a constitutional amendment. Prospects are good because the other 40 percent of Floridians live in the Spanish Caribbean settlement culture zone, where PRRI estimates mainline Protestants outnumber white evangelicals by nearly two-to-one, and in its biggest counties they’re rivaled or outnumbered by Jews, who are overwhelmingly pro-choice. Latino Catholics, about 17 percent of the Spanish Caribbean’s population, opposed an abortion ban in the Nationscape polls by a more than 30 percent margin. On top of all that, the state’s Deep Southern section (the northern two-thirds of the state), but it has a smaller proportion of white evangelicals than Kentucky, where voters protected abortion 52 to 48 in 2022.

What does this mean for the future of abortion in this post-Dobbs world?  Barring a federal ban, if you live in a state that allows citizen-initiated ballot measures and constitutional amendments chances are abortion will survive in some form, regardless of the region you live in. But the Deep South, in particular, has a long illiberal authoritarian traditions – slavery and a racial apartheid system among them – and most states there deny this power to their citizens, as do most Greater Appalachian states, meaning abortion will likely remain (or become) illegal. New Netherland, Tidewater, and parts of Yankeedom and the Midlands also frown on citizen-initiated ballot initiatives, and there are states in these regions where it’s conceivable that undemocratic outcomes on the issue could prevail — including Iowa, Wisconsin and Virginia.

In any region, citizens can theoretically vote out legislators, governors, and members of Congress for taking an abortion stand that displeases them. But in today’s Manichean political environment it’s hard to imagine that happening in the Deep South and Greater Appalachia, so this issue is going to continue to corrode the ties between states and their underlying regions at a time when they’re already dangerously weak.

Colin Woodard is the director of Nationhood Lab at Salve Regina University’s Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy. He thanks his colleagues at Motivf, Tova Perlman (for the time consuming task of rendering the Nationscape data) and John Liberty (for the maps and graphics in this piece.) Also thanks to PRRI and ASARB for making their religion data available.