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What Are America’s Most Bible-Minded Cities?

americas-most-bible-minded-cities-infographic-2014-american-bible-society What’s the most “Bible-minded” city in the United States? Though it ranks 87th in population size, Chattanooga, TN, ranks number one in “Bible-mindedness” among US cities, according to a recent survey by the American Bible Society (ABS) and Barna Group.

Chattanooga takes over the number-one ranking from Knoxville, TN, which claimed the top spot in 2012. (For the purposes of the study, “Bible-mindedness” was calculated based on combined levels of regular Bible reading and residents’ belief in the Bible’s accuracy.)

Here are the ten most and least Bible-minded cities, based on the survey (click on the image above to see the full list):

Most Bible-Minded Cities in the U.S.

  1. Chattanooga, TN
  2. Birmingham, AL
  3. Roanoke/Lynchburg, VA
  4. Springfield, MO
  5. Shreveport, LA
  6. Charlotte, NC
  7. Greenville/Spartanburg, SC/Asheville, NC.
  8. Little Rock, AR
  9. Jackson, MS
  10. Knoxville, TN

Least Bible-Minded Cities in the U.S.

  1. Providence, RI/ New Bedford, MA
  2. Albany, NY
  3. Boston, MA
  4. San Francisco, CA
  5. Cedar Rapids, IA
  6. Buffalo, NY
  7. Hartford/New Haven, CT
  8. Phoenix, AZ
  9. Burlington, VT
  10. Portland, ME

You can read a thorough breakdown of the results (and find out more about how the survey was conducted) at the ABS website. The findings suggest an inverse relationship between population density and Bible friendliness. Of the top 25 Bible-minded cities, only three have a population of greater than 1 million households: Charlotte; Nashville, TN; and Dallas, TX. Only one of the top 10 (Charlotte) ranks in the top 25 cities by population size.

We thought it would be interesting to do a quick comparison of these findings with our own data about the cities that most frequently read the Bible online at Bible Gateway. Here’s what we found:

U.S. Cities that most frequently visit

  1. New York, NY
  2. Los Angeles, CA
  3. Houston, TX
  4. Chicago, IL
  5. Dallas, TX
  6. Atlanta, GA
  7. San Antonio, TX
  8. Washington, DC
  9. San Francisco, CA
  10. Charlotte, NC

The above list is much simpler than ABS’ study, so we shouldn’t read too much into it—it’s just a measure of the total number of visits to Bible Gateway, and unlike the ABS survey it doesn’t delve into the details of how and why people in those cities are reading the Bible online. But among other things, it does suggest that we shouldn’t write off America’s largest cities, or the entire U.S. East Coast, quite yet!

For a more detailed exploration of our own data, see our blogpost What Are Bible Gateway’s Most “Bible-Minded” Cities?.

Christianity Today did another analysis of the survey and suggests one theory as to why certain cities “embrace the Bible” more than others: 19 of the top 20 most “Bible-minded” cities host sizable Christian colleges. Read further coverage in CT’s article, More Bible Stats: Top 100 Searching Cities Look Very Different from Top 100 Believing Cities.

How do the results of the ABS survey strike you—any surprises? How might you explain the apparent differences between ABS’ survey results and Bible Gateway’s list? Stop by our page on Facebook to share your thoughts.

Filed under Polls and Surveys, Statistics