Top 5 Protestant, Catholic Cities in the US: Barna

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New research from Barna Group showcases the breakdown of the most Catholic and Protestant, both mainline and nonmainline, cities in America as part of its ongoing tracking of religious demography.

The cities report, which was released last week, examines the distribution of the denominational makeup of American cities and towns and uses data based on online and telephone interviews with nationwide random samples of 76,505 adults conducted over the course of seven years, concluding in 2016.

Not surprisingly, the highest concentration of nonmainline Protestants — which includes evangelicals, charismatics and Pentecostals, and non-denominational Christians — inhabit southern and Midwestern locales.

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Sixty-five percent of Barna study interviewees in the Tri-Cities area of southwestern Virginia and northeastern Tennessee said they were some kind of nonmainline denomination. The same percentage answered the same in Monroe, Louisiana-El Dorado, Arkansas.

In Montgomery-Selma, Alabama, 62 percent are nonmainliners. In the Greenville-Spartanberg-Anderson, South Carolina area, including nearby Asheville, North Carolina, 60 percent identify as nonmainline. Fifty-nine percent of Chattanooga, Tennessee inhabitants say likewise.

Bakersfield, California has the highest recorded percentage of charismatic/Pentecostals at 14 percent. Fort Wayne, Indiana claims the No. 1 spot for "non-denominational" Christians with 12 percent identifying as such. 

The percentages are lower for mainline Protestantism, by contrast. In eastern North Carolina, approximately 27 percent of residents in the Greenville, Washington, and New Bern area are mainliners. Twenty-six percent of Green Bay and Appleton, Wisconsin dwellers are as well. Twenty-five percent of those interviewed reported similarly in the Sioux Falls-Mitchell, South Dakota, area as did respondents in Augusta-Aiken, Georgia.

Rounding out the top five mainline Protestant regions in the U.S. is Des Moines-Ames, Iowa, with 24 percent. 

The most Lutheran spot in America is La Crosse-Eau-Claire, Wisconsin. The most Baptist city is Jackson, Mississippi, with over half claiming the denomination as their own. Peoria-Bloomington, Illinois, reportedly has the most self-identified Methodists in the United States. 

The most Catholic city in the United States is Lafayette, Louisiana, with 50 percent of respondents identifying as such, results showed.

Texas contains the second, third, and fourth, spots for the most Roman Catholic parts of the country, with the third ranking including a portion of New Mexico in its measurement.

Forty-two percent of residents in the cluster of Texas cities Harlington, Weslaco, Brownsville, McAllen, are self-proclaimed Catholics. Forty-one percent of residents of El Paso, Texas, and Las Cruces, New Mexico, are also reportedly Catholic as are 39 percent of those who dwell in the city of Corpus Christi, Texas.

Though the Northeast is known as a largely secular region of the United States, 39 percent of residents of both Providence, Rhode Island, and New Bedford, Massachusetts, say they are Catholic.

Follow Brandon Showalter on Facebook: BrandonMarkShowalter Follow Brandon Showalter on Twitter: @BrandonMShow

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