30 Most Religious Cities in the US

Ty Haqqi
·9 min read

In this article we take a look at the 30 most religious cities in the US. Click to skip ahead and jump to the 10 most religious cities in the US.

The United States of America was the first nation in the entire world to be built on the separation of religion and state, making it the first secular country in the history, far surpassing most European nations which right now are actually more secular than the US is.

After all, there's a difference between being a secular country and an irreligious country. In the former, religion exists as a significant part of many people's lives, but it's just not the basis on which the country is governed. Basically, your religion has nothing to do with the affairs of the state or how it's governed. On the other hand, an irreligious country is that where most of the people either do not believe in religion, do not identify with any religion or religion does not play a major role in their lives.

religions
religions

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And so, while the US is a secular country, religion still dominates the lives of most of its citizens. After all, over 75% of the population in this country of over 300 million people believes in a religion. While Christianity is by far the most dominant religion, with over 70% of the population being Christian, there are several other religions with major followings as well including Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam, even though all these minorities combined account for just 6% of the population. The second biggest common group after Christianity is actually that of non-believers, who are agnostic, atheist or just don't have any religion, at nearly 23%. In 1990, this number was just 8.2%. In percentage terms, there has been no higher growth.

However, while irreligion grows in the US at the expense of religion, that does not mean that religion, and Christianity in particular, hold little power in the country. It's just that this influence varies from state to state, city to city, town to town. One of the two largest parties in the US, the Republican Party, is predominantly conservative and religious, and has particular support from evangelical Christians, who are also more conservative. Again, this is very different than other developed nations, where religious adherence is not even close to the levels that are present in the United States. After all, there's a huge area in the United States, which is known as the Bible Belt, where church attendance is even higher than the national average and religion is a major part of politics and influence.

Like I mentioned earlier, the influence and impact of religion varies deeply across what is an incredibly diverse country in every way. For example, New Hampshire is the least religious state in the country, where just 20% of the people admitting to being deeply religious and claiming that it plays an important role in their lives. On the other hand, we have Mississippi, where 63% of the people are deeply religious, and hence, is the most religious states in the US. Even within cities, you can find communities which are very liberal and very diverse. However, there are some cities and MSAs (Metropolitan Statistical Areas) which on an overall level, are quite religious. These are the focus of our articles. These will not be the richest cities in the world, as when you have money, you are statistically less likely to find the need to believe in religion. That's because most religions often focus on benefits for the poor and the salvation that they can attain in the hereafter. After all, there is a reason why the poorest nations on Earth are also the most religious.

Even then religion does form a strong influence on consumer behavior and sentiments, and sometimes finds its way into the economic wiring as well. There are some notable instances in the business world where companies have been known to champion certain religions subtly. Sometimes brands show a religious bent in their product offerings, like Forever 21 sometimes printing bible verses in their shopping bags or Marriot (NASDAQ:MAR)Hotels chains putting the Book of Mormon in bedside tables of hotel rooms.

Since the US census does not ask about religion, there is very little updated information available about the beliefs of a population in a particular city. Polls and surveys on the same are also not very common, and surveys such as those from Gallup are 6 years old, and a lot can change in 6 years. After all, if someone told you in 2014 that Donald Trump would be the next president of the country, you would have them committed. Thus, we headed over to the Public Religion Research Institute and determined the cities with the highest percentage of believers in both 2018 and 2019. We gave 70% weightage to the 2019 rankings as they are the most recent ones. You might also want to take a look at the 30 least religious cities in the US as well. So let's take a look at the cities in the US where religion is still a part of daily life for most, starting with number 30:

30. Chicago

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 27

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 24

Less than a quarter of Chicago's population is unaffiliated with any religion, while the majority in the city is Christian. Apart from Christianity, there are several other religions such as Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.

Pixabay/Public Domain

27. Oklahoma City

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 26

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 24

Oklahoma City is the capital as well as the largest city in the state of Oklahoma, where over 75% of the population identifies with a religion. This might be one of the main reasons why there is a major market for religious radio stations in the city.

Henryk Sadura/Shutterstock.com

27. Miami

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 26

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 24

You might be surprised to find Miami on this list, but it does have a lot of retirees and statistically, older people are much more likely to be religious as well, so the math definitely adds up.

Most Sexually Active Cities in America
Most Sexually Active Cities in America

Miami2you/Shutterstock.com

27. Hartford

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 28

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 24

The capital of Connecticut has even fewer irreligious people than in 2018, according the Public Religion Research Institute, earning it a spot in our list of the most religious cities in the US.

Pixabay/Public domain

26. Washington

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 27

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 23

You would think most people in Washington, the hub of the federal government, wouldn't be God fearing, what with all the power they hold, but either they are afraid to admit it, or they actually are quite religious.

Pixabay/Public Domain

24. Philadelphia

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 24

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 24

It's the biggest city in the state of Pennsylvania, and apparently, their religious beliefs do not really change year on year and 76% of the population believes in God, with most being Christians.

Pixabay/Public Domain

24. Jacksonville

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 24

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 24

The most populous city in Florida is also one of its most religious cities, and while very diverse religiously, still has a large majority which at least identifies with one religion.

Pixabay/Public Domain

23. San Antonio

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 22

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 24

Of course Texas makes our list, starting with San Antonio, with Christianity being the most dominant religion. 1.2% of the population is Muslim as well.

Pixabay/Public Domain

22. New York City

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 24

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 23

The only surprise in New York City being in this list is the fact that you would expect it to be ranked much higher. After all, it is the city where people come to fulfil their dreams, often quite capitalistic in nature. Few people have gone to New York City to find religion, yet it is still quite prevalent within the city.

Pixabay/Public Domain

21. Grand Rapids

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 19

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 25

Michigan is quite a religious state, and its second largest city is no exception. While the number of religious people have decreased from 2018, it still has a significant religious presence.

Theresa Scarbrough/Shutterstock.com

20. Raleigh

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 28

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 21

The capital of North Carolina has a population of nearly 500,000 people, 79% of which identify with a specific religion. It is home to many Christian branches, including Baptists and Methodists.

Fastest Growing Cities In America Raleigh
Fastest Growing Cities In America Raleigh

Pixabay/Public Domain

18. Virginia Beach

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 23

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 23

Virginia Beach, located in Virginia of course, hasn't had a change in religious adherents over the last year.

J. Bicking/Shutterstock.com

18. Houston

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 23

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 23

We told you Texas would have a strong presence in this list, and Houston is another addition to this list of most religious cities in the US.

Pixabay/Public Domain

17. Cleveland

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 25

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 22

Cleveland's religious population is actually growing, which is against the national trajectory of irreligion increasing at the expense of religion.

16 Cosmopolitan Most Culturally and Ethnically Diverse Countries in the World In 2017
16 Cosmopolitan Most Culturally and Ethnically Diverse Countries in the World In 2017

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16. Buffalo

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 22

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 23

The second largest city in the state of New York is also quite religious, with 77% of the population identifying with a religion.

Pixabay / Public Domain

15. Pittsburgh

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 24

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 22

The second largest city off Pennsylvania also makes our list of most religious cities, solidifying the fact that Pennsylvania itself is quite religious as well.

Pixabay/Public domain

14. Charlotte

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 25

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 21

The most populous city of North Carolina, Charlotte has a population of which nearly 80% identify with a religion. It has historically been known as a Protestant city and has been dominated by Christianity.

Pixabay/Public Domain

13. Nashville

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 20

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 23

The most populous city as well as the capital of Nashville, is home to various branches of Christianity, though other faiths are growing as well.

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States with the Best Roads in America

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12. Kansas City

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 23

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 21

The largest city in the state of Missouri has always been very religious, and the levels of religion adherence keep growing year on year, subverting the national trajectory of religion.

Pixabay/Public Domain

11. Memphis

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 18

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 23

Another major city in Tennessee has actually seen more people no longer identify with religion, but even then, it is still by far one of the most religious states in the United States of America.

Click to continue reading and see the 10 Most Religious Cities in the US Disclosure: No positions. 30 Most Religious Cities in the US is originally published on Insider Monkey.