The American Bible Society and the Barna Group, a national research and surveying company, joined together to measure the spiritual temperature of some of America’s largest cities.
The survey conducted in August 2013 asked 46,274 adults of 100 cities questions determining how often they read the Bible and how accurate they believed the Bible was. This was the second year in a row, Barna has tried to measure the Christian spirituality of American cities.
This year, Chattanooga, TN topped the list as the most Bible-minded city knocking off Knoxville, TN, who headed the list last year. Chattanooga placed third in last year’s survey. You can read the complete ranking of the 100 cities by clicking here.
For the basis of their survey, Barna declared a person Bible-minded if they had read the Bible in the previous week and believed “strongly” in the accuracy of the Bible.
According to the Barna survey, in 2013 the top 15 most Bible-minded cities in the U.S. were:
- Chattanooga, TN
- Birmingham / Anniston / Tuscaloosa, AL
- Roanoke / Lynchburg, VA
- Springfield, MO
- Shreveport, LA
- Charlotte, NC
- Greenville / Spartanburg / Anderson, SC and Asheville, NC
- Little Rock / Pine Bluff, AR
- Jackson, MS
- Knoxville, TN
- Charleston / Huntington, WV
- Huntsville / Decatur, AL
- Nashville, TN
- Lexington, KY
- Wichita / Hutchinson, KS
Of course, in the process they also discovered the least Bible-minded cities in the U.S. Many of the cites along the U.S. East Coast were at the bottom of the list. At the very bottom of the pack was Providence, RI.
The top bottom 15 least Bible-minded cities (going from 100th position to 86th) were:
- Providence, R.I. / New Bedford, MA (100)
- Albany / Schenectady / Troy, NY (99)
- Boston, MA / Manchester, NH, (98)
- San Francisco / Oakland / San José, CA (97)
- Cedar Rapids / Waterloo, IA (96)
- Buffalo, NY (95)
- Hartford / New Haven, CT (94)
- Phoenix / Prescott, AZ (93)
- Burlington / Pittsburgh, VT (92)
- Portland / Auburn, MA (91)
- Las Vegas, NV (90)
- New York, NY (89)
- Toledo, OH (88)
- Salt Lake City, UT (87)
- Syracuse, NY (86)
Another curious oddity, of the top 25 most Bible-minded cities only three had populations of over 1 million people — Charlotte, NC, Nashville, TN and Dallas, TX.
More religious facts:
The following are some other interesting tidbits to come out of Barna surveys:
- While Shreveport, LA had the most people attending churches with less than a hundred in size, Las Vegas has the most people attending Churches with over 1,000 members. Oddly, Shreveport (5) is listed in the top 15 most Bible-minded cities while Las Vegas (90) is in the bottom 15. I am not sure how much we should read into this?
- At 97%, Shreveport also had the most residents who called themselves Christian.
- 69% of residents in Springfield, MO and Birmingham, AL considered themselves “practicing Christians” — the most of any cities surveyed.
In terms of spiritual disciplines:
- Chattanooga, TN had the largest weekly church attendance.
- Residents in Shreveport led the list in prayer and Bible reading with 95% saying they prayed weekly and 66% said they read their Bible the previous week.
- In terms of evangelism, 75% of those surveyed in Fresno, CA said they shared their faith the previous year.
- The most charitable city was Pittsburgh, where 97% said they gave money to a non-profit the previous year.
- Nearly 60% of those claiming to be Christians in Albany, NY had not made a commitment to Christ.
- Over 50% of the adults in Burlington VT do not go to church.
- 30% of those surveyed in San Francisco did not call themselves Christian.
- 8% of those living in Boston do not believe in God, the highest of any city surveyed.
- The Most and Least Bible-Minded Cities in the U.S. in 2014: Barna Group
- The Most and Least Bible-Minded Cities in America: American Bible Society