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Sorry, Colorado Springs (Again): America's Most Saintly City Is New York?

Not even one Bible Belt city makes latest Top 10 list.

New York City is far from America's so-called "Bible Belt," but a new list argues the Big Apple is still the nation's "most saintly" city.

According to real estate blog Movoto, NYC handily beats out Colorado Springs (among other cities in Colorado, California, and Arizona) to claim the title.

Movoto's list stands in stark contrast to Barna Group's list of "most Bible-minded" cities and Gallup's list of "most religious" cities, which CT reported earlier this year.

According to Barna, which based its rankings on the "highest combined levels of regular Bible reading and belief in the Bible's accuracy," Knoxville came out on top—and cities in the South and Midwest comprised the top 10. Gallup, which examined whether residents self-identified as religious or not, found Utah's Provo-Orem metro area to be on top (and only shared two cities with Barna's list).

So, two questions: Why the difference, and why NYC?

The answer comes down to research methods and critieria. Whereas Barna uses Bible literacy as its key indicator, Movoto uses per-capita calculations to determine its findings.

"NYC might have a lot of theft, crime, and strip clubs," states Movoto, "but at 8.2 million residents the math is squarely in its favor."

Movoto says it reached its conclusions by reversing the data it collected to compile its "sinful cities" list, which it released last month. It based those calculations for the country's 95 most populous cities on data selected to represent each of the seven deadly sins, including:

Strip clubs per capita (Lust) Cosmetic surgeons per capita (Pride) Violent crime per year per 1,000 residents (Wrath) Theft per year per 1,000 residents (Envy) Percentage of disposable income given to charity each year (Greed) Percentage of obese residents (Gluttony) Percentage of physically inactive residents (Sloth)

Whichever cities ranked highest in those categories were determined to be "sinful." To determine which cities were most saintly, however, Movoto looked "at the same criteria (the sins) from the opposite perspective.... This time around the cities with the least amount of these things would rank highest and thus be the most saintly."

Movoto's top 10 saintly cities:

1. New York, NY
2. Gilbert, AZ
3. Fremont, CA
4. Glendale, CA
5. Chula Vista, CA
6. Chandler, AZ
7. Colorado Springs, CO
8. Long Beach, CA
9. San Jose, CA
10. Irvine, CA

And, by contrast, it's top 10 sinful cities:

1. St. Louis, MO
2. Orlando, FL
3. Minneapolis, MN
4. Pittsburgh, PA
5. Milwaukee, WI
6. Cincinnati, OH
7. Miami, FL
8. Buffalo, NY
9. Detroit, MI
10. Las Vegas, NV

Posted:July 17, 2013 at 5:22PM
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