Monday, October 11, 2010

New Barna Report Examines Diversity of Faith in Various U.S. Cities

New Barna Report Examines Diversity of Faith in Various U.S. Cities

October 11, 2010

Christian Identity
The cities (measured in the Barna research as media markets) with the highest proportion of residents who describe themselves as Christian are typically in the South, including: Shreveport (98%), Birmingham (96%), Charlotte (96%), Nashville (95%), Greenville, SC / Asheville, NC (94%), New Orleans (94%), Indianapolis (93%), Lexington (93%), Roanoke-Lynchburg (93%), Little Rock (92%), and Memphis (92%).

The lowest share of self-identified Christians inhabited the following markets: 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%), and Denver (78%). Even in these cities, however, roughly three out of every four residents align with Christianity.

An interesting difference is the markets that tend toward skepticism about religion in general – including Portland, Maine (19% of the population identify as being atheist or agnostic), Seattle (19%), Portland, Oregon (16%), Sacramento (16%), and Spokane (16%) – as compared to markets that have a high proportion of faiths other than Christianity represented – including New York (12%), San Francisco (11%), West Palm Beach (10%), Baltimore (8%), Denver (8%), Los Angeles (8%), Portland, Oregon (8%), and Miami (8%).
Regional Stereotypes
David Kinnaman, who directed the research project for Barna Group, mentioned that the study “confirmed many spiritual assumptions about various regions of the country. The South hosts many of the nation’s Christians, while the West and Northeast play to more secular stereotypes.

“However, one of the underlying stories is the remarkably resilient and mainstream nature of Christianity in America.  Nearly three out of four people call themselves Christians, even among the least ‘Christianized’ cities.  Furthermore, a majority of U.S. residents, regardless of location, engage in a church at some level in a typical six-month period. The real differences spiritually between various regions are not so much what they call themselves; the faith gaps are more likely to be issues of belief, practice, politics and spiritual emphasis – how people think about, prioritize and express their faith.”

[ read more of the study parameters and definitions at ]



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