May 092011
 

Question: “how would I find a listing of the least churched cities in America?

Answer: In casual conversations, I’ve heard the following cities mentioned as being among the least churched cities, aka most unchurched cities, in the United States: Seattle, Miami, San Francisco, New York City, Salt Lake City, Portland[2], Philadelphia, even Reno. Curiously, a comprehensive list wasn’t easy to find using a search phrase like “least churched cities“; a few more results did show using a search on “most unchurched cities“. Here’s what relevant data I could find about the least churched cities and the unchurched:

The 1000s of church leaders gathering at the Exponential Conference – National New Church Conference (Orlando, April 2010) probably have the answer, the lists, and more data than you can imagine. Until then, we’ll keep on the search.

Can you help? Add a comment and make the the definitive list of the top unchurched cities more available to the masses!

[update 10/17/10] On the Learnings @ Leadership Network blog, Most and Least Unchurched Cities, Dr. Warren Bird listed findings from a Barna report:

Cities with the largest share of unchurched adults (polled as: had not been to a religious worship service in the last 6 months):

  • San Francisco (44%)
  • Portland, Maine (43%)
  • Portland, Oregon (42%)
  • Albany (42%)
  • Boston (40%)
  • Sacramento (40%)
  • Seattle (40%)
  • Spokane (39%)
  • New York (38%)
  • Phoenix (38%)
  • Tucson (37%)
  • West Palm Beach (37%)

Cities with lowest share of self-identified Christians:

  • San Francisco (68%)
  • Portland, Oregon (71%)
  • Portland, Maine (72%)
  • Seattle (73%)
  • Sacramento (73%)
  • New York (73%)
  • San Diego (75%)
  • Los Angeles (75%)
  • Boston (76%)
  • Phoenix (78%)
  • Miami (78%)
  • Las Vegas (78%)
  • Denver (78%)

[cf. February 2010 Gallup Poll results for church attendance by state. 10 states with lowest church attendance: Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Nevada, Hawaii, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington]

[update May 2011] Using a number of sources (U.S. Census, the yellow pages, the number of volunteers, the amount of money donated to religious organizations and spent on religious books), Men’s Health Metrogrades identified these 10 (out of 100) cities as the least religious:

  • Miami, FL
  • Newark, NJ
  • Manchester, NH
  • Fargo, ND
  • Jersey City, NJ
  • Portland, ME
  • Hartford, CT
  • Boston, MA
  • Providence, RI
  • Burlington, VT