The Barna group has put together a report that includes the American cities with the most and least residents who identify as Christians. Here are the lists of the most and least Christian cities:
The cities (measured in the Barna research as media markets) with the highest proportion of residents who describe themselves as Christian are typically in the South, including: Shreveport (98%), Birmingham (96%), Charlotte (96%), Nashville (95%), Greenville, SC / Asheville, NC (94%), New Orleans (94%), Indianapolis (93%), Lexington (93%), Roanoke-Lynchburg (93%), Little Rock (92%), and Memphis (92%).
The lowest share of self-identified Christians inhabited the following markets: San Francisco (68%), Portland, Oregon (71%), Portland, Maine (72%), Seattle (73%), Sacramento (73%), New York (73%), San Diego (75%), Los Angeles (75%), Boston (76%), Phoenix (78%), Miami (78%), Las Vegas (78%), and Denver (78%). Even in these cities, however, roughly three out of every four residents align with Christianity.
It appears the report goes on to talk to talk about a few implications: this shows that even in the least Christian cities, around three-quarters of the people identify as Christians and the figures confirm some stereotypes about regions (the Christian South vs. the secular Northeast and West).
However, I had a different sort of question: is life in the more Christian cities qualitatively different than the life in the less Christian cities? Are the Christian cities marked by different actions or programs? Are people in the Christian cities more welcoming and are they more willing and active in helping those who need help? Would a visitor be able to know which cities were the more Christian based on interactions with its people versus other measures like the number of churches or religious advertising? Does the Christian faith of the individual residents translate into a different kind of community or local government?
And if the answers to these questions is “no, it really isn’t that different,” then why not?