CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Chattanooga is known for its deep history and many tourist attractions, but it’s also the most Bible-minded city in the country, according to a new survey from the American Bible Society.
The Scenic City takes over for Knoxville, Tenn., which claimed the top post in 2012. Charlotte, N.C., was the only city that ranked in both the top 25 cities in terms of population and in the top 10 most Bible-minded cities, coming in at No. 6.
For the second annual study of the most Bible-minded city, the American Bible Society examined the “Bible mindedness” of the country’s top 100 cities based on population. To compile its rankings, the organization looked at the levels of residents’ belief in the Bible’s accuracy and residents’ regular Bible reading.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bible Belt cities ranked among the highest while East Coast cities brought up the rear, and only three — Charlotte, N.C.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Dallas — have a population of more than 1 million people. According to the survey, the most Bible-minded cities (last year’s ranking in parenthesis):
- Chattanooga, Tenn. (3)
- Birmingham, Ala. (4)
- Roanoke/Lynchburg, Va. (8)
- Springfield, Mo. (6)
- Shreveport, La. (2)
- Charlotte, N.C. (7)
- Greenville/Spartanburg, S.C./Asheville N.C. (11)
- Little Rock, Ark. (12)
- Jackson, Miss. (5)
- Knoxville, Tenn. (1)
- Providence, R.I./New Bedford, Mass.
- Albany/Schenectady/Troy, N.Y.
- Boston, Mass./Manchester, N.H.
- San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, Calif.
- Cedar Rapids/Waterloo, Iowa
- Buffalo, N.Y.
- Hartford/New Haven, Conn.
- Phoenix/Prescott, Ariz.
- Burlington/Plattsburgh, Vt.
- Portland/Auburn, Maine
“An analysis of interaction with and views of the Bible continues to help us evaluate the Bible landscape in America,” Geoffrey Morin, chief communications officer at the American Bible Society, said in a statement. “To help people engage with the best-selling book of all time’s life-changing message, we need to understand where people are starting from. But ultimately, we want people to know whether you live in one of the most or least Bible-minded cities, the Bible can speak to your needs, challenges and concerns, and help you make sense of life.”
The American Bible Society based its findings on a survey conducted by the Barna Group of more than 46,000 people nationwide over a seven year period.