Albany is America’s Least Christian City

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%.
Looking along Church Street pedestrian mall -Burlington Vermont
  • 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:

  1. Do not believe in God.
  1. Identify as an atheist or agnostic.
  1. Disagree that faith is important in their lives.
  1. Have not prayed to God (in the last year).

  1. Have never made a commitment to Jesus.
  1. Believe that the Bible is inaccurate.
  1. Have not donated money to a church (in the last year).
  1. Have not attended a Christian church (in the last year).
  1. Agree that Jesus committed sins.

  1. Do not feel a responsibility to “share their faith.”
  1. Have not read the Bible (in the last week).
  1. Have not volunteered at church (in the last week).

  1. Have not attended Sunday school (in the last week).
  1. Have not attended religious small group (in the last week).
  1. 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 in our political culture.