Where in U.S. do most generous practicing Christians live?

Monday, December 9, 2019
Michael F. Haverluck (OneNewsNow.com)

Bible - Money comboWith Christmas being the biggest time of the year for giving, a study was recently conducted to find the 50 American cities where the most generous practicing Christians live – and surprisingly, only one of the top five comes from the Bible Belt.

When researchers at the Barna Group tapped into their Barna FaithView database, they unexpectedly found that the two top cities in the United States for giving were in the West – not the South.

Top nonprofit-giving Christian cities

Top on the list is the tri-city area of Pocatello and Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Jackson, Wyoming, where the overall annual nonprofit giving of practicing Christians, including church contributions, is nearly $18,000. Perhaps more surprising is that the gambling capital of the United States – Las Vegas, Nevada, more commonly known as "Sin City" – comes in at number two, at more than $10,000.

top 50 cities in givingAccording to Barna's research, the top 10 giving cities/areas in the U.S. are:

  1. Pocatello and Idaho Falls, Idaho / Jackson, Wyoming: $17,977
  2. Las Vegas, Nevada: $10,410
  3. Victoria, Texas: $10,375
  4. Ottumwa, Iowa / Kirksville, Missouri: $10,000
  5. Jonesboro, Arkansas: $7,999
  6. Twin Falls, Idaho: $7,636
  7. North Platte, Nebraska: $6,764
  8. Lake Charles, Louisiana: $6,200
  9. Salisbury, Maryland: $6,125
  10. Wheeling, West Virginia / Steubenville, Ohio: $5,735

(Click on image to see the locations and amounts
of top 50 cities in the U.S.)

Giving any given Sunday …

Donations and other charitable contributions – including tithes and funds set aside for mission work – at Christians' churches were also individually determined. So, when it specifically comes to church giving, the three Idaho cities rank first again in the top 10 and are followed by communities as indicated below:

  1. Pocatello and Idaho Falls, Idaho / Jackson, Wyoming: $15,601
  2. Ottumwa, Iowa / Kirksville, Missouri: $9,600
  3. Victoria, Texas: $8,984
  4. Jonesboro, Arkansas: $7,999
  5. Las Vegas, Nevada: $5,379
  6. North Platte, Nebraska: $5,235
  7. Scottsbluff, Nebraska / Cheyenne, Wyoming: $5,000
  8. Wheeling, West Virginia / Steubenville, Ohio: $4,663
  9. Selma / Montgomery, Alabama: $4,544
  10. Nashville, Tennessee: $4,433

Bible-minded cities

Over a 10-year period ending in 2017, Barna and the American Bible Society interviewed more than 76,505 adults across the U.S. to find what cities had the highest concentration of Bible-minded residents, and each one was located in the South's Bible Belt.

Among America's 100 largest media markets a couple years ago, the U.S. cities with the largest percentage of Bible-minded adults were:

  1. Chattanooga, Tennessee: 50%
  2. Birmingham / Anniston / Tuscaloosa, Alabama: 49%
  3. Roanoke / Lynchburg, Virginia: 48%
  4. Tri-Cities, Tennessee: 48%
  5. Shreveport, Louisiana: 47%
  6. Charlotte, North Carolina: 46%
  7. Springfield, Missouri: 46%
  8. Little Rock / Pine Bluff, Arkansas: 44%
  9. Knoxville, Tennessee: 44%
  10. Greenville / Spartanburg / Anderson, South Carolina; Asheville, North Carolina: 44%

Cities bucking the Bible

Conversely, the 10 least Bible-minded cities in the study predominantly came from New York and the New England states:

  • 100. Albany / Schenectady / Troy, New York: 10%
  • 99. Boston, Massachusetts / Manchester, New Hampshire: 11%
  • 98. Providence, Rhode Island / New Bedford, Massachusetts: 12%
  • 97. Cedar Rapids / Waterloo, Iowa: 14%
  • 96. Buffalo, New York: 14%
  • 95. Las Vegas, Nevada: 14%
  • 94. San Francisco / Oakland / San Jose, California: 15%
  • 93. Hartford / New Haven, Connecticut: 16%
  • 92. Salt Lake City, Utah: 17%
  • 91. New York City, New York: 17%

Most post-Christian cities

Earlier this year, Barna also conducted research to find American cities ranked by their most post-Christian status.

In order to earn the "post-Christian" label, a certain percentage of a city's population must meet nine or more factors, including: "disagree the Bible is accurate; have not read the Bible (in the last week); do not believe in God and; disagree that faith is important in their lives."

With a cumulative average of 66%, Springfield-Holyoke, Massachusetts, came in first place among America's most post-Christian cities, and Barna broke down the percentages as follows:

"The percentage of individuals in Springfield-Holyoke who have not read the Bible (in the last week) is 87%, have not attended a Christian church (in the last 6 months) is 65%, have never made a commitment to Jesus is 60%, have not prayed to God (in the last week) is 47%, disagree that faith is important in their lives is 41%, and do not believe in God is 11%."

Here is the list of America's top 10 most post-Christian cities, as tallied by Barna in June:

  1. Springfield / Holyoke, Massachusetts: 66%
  2. Portland-Auburn, Maine: 60%
  3. Providence, Rhode Island / New Bedford, Maine: 59%
  4. Burlington, Vermont: 59%
  5. Boston, Massachusetts / Manchester, New Hampshire: 57%
  6. Albany / Schenectady / Troy, New York: 56%
  7. Hartford-New Haven, Connecticut: 56%
  8. Rochester, New York: 55%
  9. Santa Barbara / Santa Maria / San Luis Obispo, California: 54%
  10. Seattle / Tacoma, Washington: 54%


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