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Think you know what cities in America are considered the “most religious”? It really depends on the question you ask. Two data companies surveyed religion in major metropolitan US cities. Their findings came up with contrasting lists and surprising common ground.
Property Shark, a real estate data company, did a study of US metro areas with the most number of religious buildings. The Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) surveyed 50,000 people in the same metro areas to find out how many were religiously unaffiliated. It’s surprising to see where the most religious cities (by buildings) are located. It’s equally interesting to note the contrast in religious affiliation.
Coming in at number 1 for most religious buildings is Indianapolis, IN, followed by Seattle, WA; Jacksonville, FL, Washington, DC; and Memphis TN. Topping the chart for least religious cities in the US are Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; San Francisco, CA; Denver, CO; and Phoenix, AZ.
The most striking contrast is Seattle, taking second place for both the number of religious buildings and the most number of religiously unaffiliated people.
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Joining that list of cities with many places of worship and low numbers of religious people are Washington, DC; Columbus, OH; Chicago, IL; Phoenix, AZ; Miami, FL; New York City; San Francisco; Los Angeles, CA; and Las Vegas, NV.
Most Religious People
If you’re looking to buy a home in a US metro area by the most religious people in a particular denomination or tradition, check out the PRRI’s American Values Atlas. Our spot check of Catholics and 4 Protestant denominations — Baptist, Nondenominational, Lutheran and Pentecostal — came up with a surprising number of cities outside the famed Bible Belt of the southern US. The Midwest to Northeast metro areas had the highest concentration, with the least numbers west and north of Kansas.
5 Most Religious Cities
The cities with the lowest percentage of people claiming no religion are Charlotte (16%), Dallas (17%), Milwaukee (17%), Houston (18%) and Kansas City (19%). Chicago, Indy and NYC tied for 6th place. So let’s combine the cities with the most religious people and buildings. And the top 5 most religious cities in America are:
- Dallas TX
- Charlotte, NC
- Houston, TX
- Indianapolis, IN
- Chicago, IL
Honorable mention: New York City.
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