Top 10 Most 'Saintly' American Cities (Be Ready to Be Surprised…)

You might blink and read this again, but according to a recently released study, the most saintly city isn't anywhere close to the Bible Belt or in a small quaint Midwestern town. Nope, not even close. Movoto blog after examining seven criteria using data from the U.S. Census found that none other than the Big Apple, New York City, was the most "saintly" U.S. city.

Shocked? So are we.

The Movoto list of "America's Most Saintly Cities" is a contrasting spin-off of its  "America's 10 Sinful Cities", put together by, a real estate blog that for this project assessed a total of 95 cities focused on criteria associated with lust, pride, wrath, envy, greed, gluttony, and sloth. This time around, researchers said that a saintly city would have the least amount of these sins. The most saintly cities were determined by averaging the score from the seven criteria below. The lower the score, the better, and the data was calculated on a per capita basis.

Criteria (the sins) List
• 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)

According to the blog's research, New York City had a relatively low wrath, gluttony and sloth rate per 1,000 people – meaning violence, obesity and lack of physical activity scored low.

"We were as surprised by that result at first as you probably were, until we considered the fact that our calculations were all done on a per capita basis. NYC might have a lot of theft, crime, and strip clubs, but at 8.2 million residents the math is squarely in its favor," Randy Nelson wrote on

"We're sure that there are probably a few folks who are surprised to see so many California cities in the top 10, but, as with NYC, we see that assumptions aren't always accurate. If anything, between our two surveys of the most and least sinful cities, we've found that the long-held belief that the South and Midwest are more traditionally wholesome no longer stands up," he added.

The Top 10 "Saintly" U.S. Cities

1. New York, N.Y.
2. Gilbert, Ariz.
3. Fremont, Calif.
4. Glendale, Calif.
5. Chula Vista, Calif.
6. Chandler, Ariz.
7. Colorado Springs, Colo.
8. Long Beach, Calif.
9. San Jose, Calif.
10. Irvine, Calif.

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