For the last several years, Barna has joined the American Bible Society in researching the biblical engagement of the nation’s 100 largest media markets. Each year’s Bible-Minded Cities list is the result of a decade’s worth of interviews from over 60,000 people across the United States.
Released last week, the 2016 list finds Chattanooga, Tennessee, at the top as America’s most Bible-minded city, leading a Southern-heavy top 10:
Birmingham / Anniston / Tuscaloosa, AL
Roanoke / Lynchburg, VA
Little Rock / Pine Bluff, AR
Greenville / Spartanburg / Anderson, SC / Asheville, NC
In fact, nearly the entire top quarter of Bible-minded cities are in the South, save for Wichita, Kansas, (18) and Grand Rapids, Michigan, (20). On the flip side, the least Bible-minded cities are predominantly East Coast-dwellers, with Albany / Schenectady / Troy, New York; Boston; and Providence, Rhode Island, holding anchor at the bottom.
So what makes — or breaks — a “Bible-minded” city? Barna reports it’s a mixture of frequent engagement with Scripture, combined with esteem, action and attitude, measuring not only the openness of America’s cities towards the Bible, but also their resistance to it.
Visit Barna.org to read more about the study or view this helpful infographic from the American Bible Society.