By Aaron Earls
When it comes to Bible-minded cities, one state is full of them.
The annual American Bible Society ranking is once again topped by a Tennessee city.
Not only does the Volunteer State have the most Bible-minded city in 2017, it has three of the top 10. All five Tennessee cities on the list are in the top 25.
The annual list, compiled by ABS and Barna Group, ranks the top 100 American media markets according to residents’ Bible-reading habits and beliefs about its accuracy.
For the second year in a row, Chattanooga, Tennessee, is the most Bible-minded city. Only once in the last six years—in 2015, when Birmingham, Alabama, pushed Chattanooga down to second—has Tennessee not topped the list.
Chattanooga is the only city in America where at least half the population is considered Bible-minded.
The other Tennessee cities on the list are Tri-Cities (4), Knoxville (9), Nashville (16), and Memphis (24).
The full top 10 with the percentage of their residents who are Bible-minded:
- Chattanooga, TN (50%)
- Birmingham/Anniston/Tuscaloosa, AL (49%)
- Roanoke/Lynchburg, VA (48%)
- Tri-Cities, TN (48%)
- Shreveport, LA (47%)
- Charlotte, NC (46%)
- Springfield, MO (46%)
- Little Rock/Pine Bluff, AR (44%)
- Knoxville, TN (44%)
- Greenville/Spartanburg/Anderson, SC; Asheville, NC (44%)
As expected, the South dominates the rankings of Bible-minded cities, just as it does the Hartford Institute for Religion Research’s database of megachurches. Nine of the top 10 cities are Southern.
The only city in the top 25 that is not in the South or in a state bordering the South is Grand Rapids, Michigan, which ranked 23.
Spokane, Washington, ranked 52, is the highest West Coast city, while Syracuse, New York (68), is the top city from the Northeast.
The largest jumps from last year on the list belong to Springfield, Missouri, which moved from 11 to 7, and Jackson, Mississippi, which climbed from 15 to 12.
Philadelphia, on the other hand, had a significant drop, falling from 57 to 69.
The 10 least Bible-minded cities are:
- New York, NY (17%)
- Salt Lake City, UT (17%)
- Hartford/New Haven, CT (16%)
- San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, CA (15%)
- Las Vegas, NV (14%)
- Buffalo, NY (14%)
- Cedar Rapids/Waterloo, IA (14%)
- Providence, RI; New Bedford, MA (12%)
- Boston, MA; Manchester, NH (11%)
- Albany/Schenectady/Troy, NY (10%)
AARON EARLS (Aaron.Earls@Lifeway.com) is online editor of Facts & Trends.