Poll Reveals Most (and Least) Bible-Minded Cities in US

Bible study
American Bible Society’s study of America’s most Bible-minded cities found that, while the Bible Belt continues to perform strongly, East Coast cities continue to bring up the rear. (FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

When it comes to U.S. cities that embrace the Bible, Tennessee still has bragging rights. The latest release ranking from American Bible Society finds Chattanooga, Tenn., is America’s most Bible-minded city. Chattanooga takes over the No. 1 ranking from Knoxville, Tenn., which claimed the top spot in 2012.

American Bible Society’s study of America’s most Bible-minded cities found that, while the Bible Belt continues to perform strongly, East Coast cities continue to bring up the rear. While ranked No. 1 in Bible mindedness, Chattanooga ranks 87th in population size. Just one of the top 10 Bible-minded cities ranks in the top 25 cities by population size. Charlotte, N.C., America’s sixth most Bible-minded city is the 25th most populous city.

This marks the second annual survey conducted by American Bible Society based on city-specific data collected by Barna Group. For the second year, a closer look at the findings indicates an inverse relationship between population density and Bible friendliness. Of the top 25 Bible-minded markets, only three have a population of greater than 1 million households: Charlotte; Nashville, Tenn.; and Dallas.

Most Bible-Minded Cities (with previous year’s ranking)

  1.  Chattanooga, Tenn. (3)
  2.  Birmingham, Ala. (4)
  3.  Roanoke/Lynchburg, Va. (8)
  4.  Springfield, Mo. (6)
  5.  Shreveport, La. (2)
  6.  Charlotte, N.C. (7)
  7.  Greenville/Spartanburg, S.C./Asheville, N.C. (11)
  8.  Little Rock, Ark. (12)
  9.  Jackson, Miss. (5)
  10. Knoxville, Tenn. (1)

Least Bible-Minded Cities (with previous year’s ranking)

  1. Providence, R.I./ New Bedford, Mass. (1)
  2. Albany, N.Y.(2)
  3. Boston, Mass. (6)
  4. San Francisco (7)
  5. Cedar Rapids, Iowa (9)
  6. Buffalo, N.Y (10)
  7. Hartford/New Haven, Conn. (5)
  8. Phoenix, Ariz. (8)
  9. Burlington, Vt. (3)
  10. Portland, Maine (4)

The study analyzes the Bible mindedness of the top 100 cities by population across the U.S. Bible mindedness is calculated based on combined levels of regular Bible reading and residents’ belief in the Bible’s accuracy. To view the full list of city rankings, follow this link.

“An analysis of interaction with and views of the Bible continues to help us evaluate the Bible landscape in America,” said Geoffrey Morin, chief communications officer at American Bible Society. “To help people engage with the best-selling book of all time’s life-changing message, we need to understand where people are starting from. But ultimately, we want people to know whether you live in one of the most or least Bible-minded cities, the Bible can speak to your needs, challenges and concerns, and help you make sense of life.”

The data reported is based upon telephone and online interviews with nationwide random samples of 46,274 adults conducted over a seven-year period, ending in August 2013. The maximum margin of sampling error associated with the aggregate sample is ±0.5 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. Respondents who report reading the Bible within the past seven days and who agree strongly in the accuracy of the Bible are classified as “Bible Minded.”

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