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New Research Exploring Faith in America’s Largest Markets

This via the Barna Group.
The Faith By Market report explores 40 different factors among the adults located in each of the markets and states studied. Those factors include a dozen religious beliefs, ten religious practices, various religious commitments and affiliations, and a dozen demographic attributes.

Among the many intriguing insights from the report are the following:

  • Just 3 of the nation’s 25 largest metropolitan areas have a born again majority. However, 15 of the 27 mid-sized markets (adult population of a half-million up to one million) have a born again majority.
  • The market with the highest percentage of adults who volunteer at a church during an average week is Salt Lake City. The market with the lowest rate of church volunteerism is Buffalo.
  • Sunday school attendance among adults is most common in Salt Lake City, and least common in Portland, Maine.
  • Involvement in an adult small group is most prolific in Shreveport, Louisiana. The three markets with the lowest rates of small group participation are Albany (NY), Boston and Providence.
  • The market with the highest percentage of adults who consider themselves to be Baptist is Shreveport. The market with the highest percentage that claims allegiance to the Catholic church is Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The connection to the Methodist church is highest in Wichita, Kansas. Affiliation with a Lutheran church was greatest in Minneapolis-St. Paul.
  • People are most likely to attend a large church in Houston. They are most likely to attend a church of less than 100 adults in Lexington, KY.
  • Adults are most likely to claim they have a responsibility to share their religious beliefs with other people if they live in Birmingham, Alabama. That perspective is least common in Providence and Green Bay.
  • The metro area in which adults are most likely to believe that Satan is a symbol of evil but not a living presence is the Brownsville-McAllen-Harlingen market in Texas.
  • People are most likely to believe that they can earn their salvation if they live in Salt Lake City.
  • The highest percentage of adults who believe that Jesus Christ sinned during his life on earth is in Des Moines, Iowa.
  • Believing that God is “the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the universe who still rules it today” is most common in Tulsa. It is least predominant in Boston and San Francisco.
  • The state with the highest percentage of its residents attending large churches is Arizona. Such behavior is least common in Missouri.
  • The states with the lowest proportion of born again residents having shared their faith in Christ with a non-believer in the past year were Massachusetts and Tennessee. Personal evangelism efforts were most common in Alabama and Louisiana.
  • The largest percentage of adults who are “notional Christians” – that is, those who consider themselves to be Christian but are not born again – are found in Massachusetts and Wisconsin.
  • One out of every six residents of Massachusetts, Connecticut and Washington are atheist or agnostic – nearly double the national average. Atheists and agnostics are hardest to locate in Louisiana and Missouri.
  • What is probably most surprising to many is their discoveries regarding the Evangelical population in Los Angeles, CA.
    The city that produces the media often criticized or boycotted by evangelicals is also home to nearly one million of those deeply devout Christians. In fact, there are more evangelical adults in the Los Angeles market than there are in the New York, Chicago and Boston metropolitan areas – combined! The Barna Group’s analysis showed that although the evangelicals living in the ten most populous markets account for only 6% of the adults in those markets, that group represents one out of every four evangelicals (24%) in the United States.


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