Dueling Top 10 Lists: Gallup's 'Most Religious' Cities vs Barna's 'Most Bible-Minded' Cities
Mississippi may be the most religious state in America, but new Gallup stats reveal the most religious city in the United States isn't even in the Bible Belt. It's in Utah.
According to Gallup, Provo-Orem is the most religious U.S. metro area, with 77 percent of residents identifying as "very religious." That's a full 13 percentage points higher than the second-ranked city–Montgomery, Alabama–where 64 percent of residents say they are very religious.
Of the top 10 most religious cities identified by Gallup, only three are outside of the South: Provo-Orem; Ogden-Clearfield, Utah; and Holland-Grand Haven, Mich.
But of greater interest, Gallup's list looks significantly different from one released by Barna Group and American Bible Society earlier this year. Barna's list of America's most "Bible-minded" cities, based on "highest combined levels of regular Bible reading and belief in the Bible's accuracy," listed Knoxville, Tenn., as the top city. However, Gallup's ranking shows that fewer than 50 percent of Knoxville residents identify as "very religious"; Knoxville was nowhere near Gallup's top 10–or even the top 20.
In fact, only two of Barna's top 10 most Bible-minded cities correspond with Gallup's: Barna's fifth-ranked Jackson, Miss., and ninth-ranked Huntsville, Ala., are third and fifth among Gallup's cities, respectively. Two other top Barna picks (Shreveport, La., and Chattanooga, Tenn.) fell within Gallup's top 20.
The lists' least-religious/least Bible-minded cities don't exactly line up either. Whereas most of Barna's picks are in the New England region, Gallup reports the lowest percentages of "very religious" believers in West coast cities.