How do Americans from each region interact with the Bible? A study by Barna Group explores the faith profile of 131 cities to identify the top 10 most Bible-minded cities as well as the least Bible-minded cities in 2017.
Barna's annual Bible-Minded Cities report, in partnership with American Bible Society, is based on interviews with 76,505 adults over a 10-year period. And it found that Chattanooga in Tennessee is the most Bible-minded city in America, for the second year in a row.
The evangelical polling organization determined "Bible-mindedness" by asking the respondents how regular they are in reading the Bible and what they think of its accuracy. Based on the results, the group found that 50 percent of the population of Chattanooga is Bible-minded.
Birmingham, Anniston and Tuscaloosa in Alabama have taken the second spot, with 49 percent. In 2015, these cities had the first spot.
Roanoke and Lynchburg in Virginia, with 48 percent, are the third most Bible-minded.
Then it's back to Tennessee, with the Tri-Cities area, also around 48 percent, coming in at fourth place.
Shreveport in Louisiana (47 percent) has taken fifth place.
The next five are also from the Southern "Bible belt." They include Charlotte in North Carolina (46 percent); Springfield in Missouri (46 percent); Little Rock and Pine Bluff in Arkansas (44 percent); Knoxville in Tennessee (44 percent); Greenville, Spartanburg and Anderson in South Carolina and Asheville in North Carolina (44 percent).
Which are the least Bible-minded cities in America?
Albany, Schenectady and Troy in New York with only about 10 percent of their populations being Bible-minded is at the top of that list for the second year in a row.
The New England area takes the second and third positions, with Boston in Massachusetts and Manchester in New Hampshire at 11 percent.
Providence in Rhode Island and New Bedford in Massachusetts with 12 percent are close behind.
Cedar Rapids and Waterloo in Iowa, at 14 percent, is the only Midwest city in the top five least Bible-minded cities, slightly ahead of another New York state contender, Buffalo at 14 percent.
The East coast and the West make up the remainder of the top 10 spots, including Las Vegas in Nevada (around 14 percent); San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose in California (15 percent); Hartford and New Haven in Connecticut (16 percent); Salt Lake City in Utah (17 percent); then back to New York with the biggest American city New York (17 percent) sliding into tenth place.
Nationally, only 25 percent of the population is considered Bible-minded, according to Barna. Individuals considered to be Bible-minded are those who report reading the Bible in the past week and who strongly assert the Bible is accurate in the principles it teaches.
"This definition captures action and attitude — those who both engage and esteem the Christian scriptures. The rankings thus reflect an overall openness or resistance to the Bible in various U.S. cities."
Barna recently also released data revealing which of America's cities are the most "churched," "unchurched," "dechurched" and "post-Christian."
According to the data, the two most "churched" areas in the United States are Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Salt Lake City, Utah, which are both 59 percent churched. The areas of Augusta-Aiken, Georgia, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, ranked as the third and fourth most churched cities, being 57 percent churched. The area of Birmingham-Anniston-Tuscaloosa, Alabama, ranked as the fifth most churched area at 56 percent churched.