Secularists that want to fit in might consider moving to Albany, New York. The Empire State’s capital is America’s “most Post-Christian” city according to the number crunchers at the Barna Group.
Around 63%; or over two thirds of the population of the Albany-Schenectady metro area, met Barna’s criteria for being “Post-Christian.” In contrast Knoxville, Tennessee and Shreveport, Louisiana, tied for being America’s most devout cities. Around 12% of the population in each of those metro areas was classified as “Post-Christian.”
The Most Post-Christian Cities in America, an interesting graphic at Barna-Cities ranked 96 metro areas for Post Christianity. The Barna Group is a Christian data research company based in Ventura, California. Its’ researchers made some fascinating discoveries in an assessment of religious faith in American cities.
The Surprising State of Post-Christian America
Some interesting facts about Post Christianity in America include:
- The Northeast is America’s least Christian region. The five most Post-Christian cities; Albany, Burlington, Vermont, Portland, Maine, Providence, Rhode Island and Hartford, Connecticut, were all located in that region. Eight of the top 10 cities for Post Christianity were found in the Northesat.
- The San Francisco Bay Area is America’s most Post-Christian big city. Around 53% of the people in Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose (Silicon Valley) were classified as Post-Christian.
- New York is the Nation’s most Post-Christian state with four of the most Post Christian cities; New York City (51%), Buffalo (52%), Plattsburgh (considered part of the Burlington, Vermont, metro area at 60%) and Albany-Schenectady (63%) in the top 10. Another Empire City, Syracuse made it into the 20 with 48% of its population classified as Post-Christian.
- The heartland is still more devout than the Coasts. No city in the Midwest or the South was in the top 20 Post-Christian metro areas. Only one city in the Rocky Mountains (Denver at 49% Post-Christian) and one in the Plains (Cedar Rapids/Waterloo, Iowa with a Post-Christian population of 49%) made it into the top 20.
- All but one of the cities in the top 10 list were in coastal states. Only the number two Post-Christian City, Burlington, Vermont was in a landlocked state.
- There were some surprising islands of Post Christianity in the Heartland; including #23 Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, Michigan at 44% (the same percentage as Los Angeles) Post-Christian and #15 Cedar Rapids-Waterloo; Iowa at 49%.
- Sin City is more religious than you might think, Las Vegas was only 43% Post-Christian.
- Florida is less religious than you might think; West Palm Beach/Fort Pierce was 46% Post-Christian, Miami-Fort Lauderdale was 45% Post-Christian, and both Tampa St. Petersburg and Orlando/Daytona Beach, were 42% Post-Christian.
- Colorado Springs’ reputation as a hotbed of fundamentalism is overblown. The Colorado Springs-Pueblo metroplex was 41% Post-Christian.
- The Nation’s capital is highly irreligious. Around 40% of the people in the Washington, D.C. were described as Post-Christian. A percentage that will not surprise many voters.
What is a Post-Christian Anyway?
Barna considers a person “Post-Christian” if he or she meets at least nine of these 15 criteria:
- Do not believe in God.
- Identify as an atheist or agnostic.
- Disagree that faith is important in their lives.
- Have not prayed to God (in the last year).
- Have never made a commitment to Jesus.
- Believe that the Bible is inaccurate.
- Have not donated money to a church (in the last year).
- Have not attended a Christian church (in the last year).
- Agree that Jesus committed sins.
- Do not feel a responsibility to “share their faith.”
- Have not read the Bible (in the last week).
- Have not volunteered at church (in the last week).
- Have not attended Sunday school (in the last week).
- Have not attended religious small group (in the last week).
- Do not participate in a house church (in the last year).
Post-Christian America is already a reality in some cities and regions, Barna’s data indicates. That will have profound effects on our culture and our politics.
There is also a deep and growing divide between that Post-Christian America and some other regions of the country. One has to wonder where it will lead, and if this development is fueling the growing bitterness is our political culture.