City and States report reveals spiritual condition of America
By Marvin Schrebe
A new study provides theologians and pastors with demographic information about the spiritual condition of major cities and states across the country. The report, produced annually by The Barna Group out of Ventura, CA includes ten categories of data:
- The biggest and smallest churches
- The most and least prayerful churches
- The most and least orthodox view of God
- The most and fewest amount of evangelicals
- Political leanings
- The most and fewest practicing Christians
- Marital status of practicing Christians
- Diversity of practicing Christians
- Education levels of practicing Christians
- Income levels of practicing Christians.
The Barna Group found that Chattanooga TN was the city with the largest churches. It found that “nineteen percent (19%) of the churches in Chattanooga had memberships of over 1,000.” The national average is nine percent (9%). The city with the smallest church memberships was Shreveport LS, at sixty-six percent (66%) having memberships of less than 100. The national average is forty-one percent (41%).
To gather data on prayer, Barna asked respondents in the survey if they had prayed in the last seven days. The city with the highest average of believers who answered yes was Alken, GA with an average of ninety-eight percent (98%). The national average is seventy-eight percent (78%). The least prayed city was Springfield /Holyoke, MA with an average of fifty-three percent (53%) stating they had prayed in the last seven days, according to Barna.
iew of God
Next, the survey gave respondents six different descriptions of God and asked which of the six descriptions they identified with most. The most orthodox views of God were held by believers in Florence/Myrtle Beach, South Carolina at eighty-seven (87%) percent. The least orthodox views were held by believers in Springfield/Holyoke, MA at thirty-one percent (31%). The national average is sixty-four percent (64%).
“Chattanooga TN has the highest amount of evangelicals according to the Barna Group with eighteen percent (18%) of believers who call it home meeting that classification,” the Barna report stated. The national average is seven percent (7%) of believers. Springfield/Holyoke MA again comes in the low spot with one percent (1%). Evangelicals as defined by the Barna Group are born again believers who meet seven other conditions including saying faith is important in their life and having a belief that they should share their personal beliefs about Christ with non-Christians.
he Barna Group divided the churches with political leanings into two groups “mostly conservative” and “mostly liberal”. It found that the city with the most conservative churches politically were Lincoln/Hastings/ Kearney NB at fifty-two percent (52%). The city with the most identified liberal Christians was San Fransisco/Oakland/San Jose CA with thirty-six percent (36%). The national average was thirty-three percent (33%) conservative and twenty percent (20%) liberal. The most moderates were found to be in Naples FL at sixty-three percent (63%) with a national average of forty-seven percent (47%).
“The city with the most practicing Christians, according to Barna's research was Monroe LA/El Dorado, AK at sixty-five percent (65%) and the city with the least practicing Christians was San Fransisco/Oakland/San Jose, CA with seventeen percent (17%). The national average is thirty-six percent (36%) of the population”, the report stated.
The Barna Group found that the highest percentage of married practicing Christians was found in Lansing, MI with an average of eighty-one (81%). The city with the highest percentage of never married practicing Christians was New York NY at thirty-two percent (32%). The city with the highest population of divorced Christians was Oklahoma City, OK at thirty-six percent. The national average of married Christians is sixty-one percent (61%). The national average of never married Christians is nineteen percent (19%) and the national average of divorced Christians is twenty-five percent (25%).
Diversity of practicing Christians
The Barna Group study classified the demographics of the participants into racial groups. The city with the highest percentage of non-white Christians was Harlingen/Weslaco/Brownsville/McAllen TX at eighty-eight percent (88%) (eighty-three percent (83%) Hispanic). National average thirty-five percent (35%). The cith with the highest percentage of white/Caucasion Christians was Wausau/Rhineland WI with an average of ninety-eight percent (98%). National average sixty-five percent (65%).
Educational levels of practicing Christians
Naples, FL has the highest percentage of practicing Christians who have only a high school education or less at sixty-nine percent (69%). The national average is forty-three percent (43%). The city with the most Christians who have college degrees are Burlington/Plattsburgh, VT and Washington DC/Hagerstown, MD tied at forty-two percent (42%). The national average is twenty-eight percent (28%).
Income diversities among practicing Christians are very real. More than fifty-percent of practicing Christians in Augusta/Alken, GA earn what the Barna Group considers low income (under thirty thousand dollars per year. The national average is twenty-nine percent (29%). The cities which boasted Christians who earned seventy-five thousand dollars or more per year and were considered high income by the Barna group were Hagerstown, MD/Washington, DC with an average of 46%. The national average is twenty-seven percent.
Barna Research Group is a private, non-partisan, for profit organization, which operates under Issachar Companies located in Ventura CA.