Atheists in America, Rejoice: Here Are The Least Religious Cities
Think America is a religious country? You'd be half right. The American Bible Society has released its list of the most and least-Bible-minded metropolitan areas and cities in the country, and the results probably won't astound you: Chattanooga, Tennessee claims the most Bible-friendly city in the country (last year it was Knoxville). A separate Gallup study last year ranked Mississippi as the most religious state, with 58 percent of respondents identifying as "very religious," and Tennessee 7th, with half the state identifying as devout. The most religious states are still in the American South, with both Carolinas, Alabama, and Georgia having the highest rates of worship. Understandably, Utah's Provo-Orem is the most religious metropolitan area in the country.
But numbers for church attendance are starting to decline in the United States, with 29 percent of people saying they seldom or never go to church in 2013 — up from 25 percent in 2003. And while there are no admitted atheist lawmakers in Congress or the Senate, some politicians, like Arizona's Kyrsten Sinema, are moving away from attaching themselves to a specific religious label.
Some cities have long been holding it down as meccas for the a-religious. Click on to find out where the least religious cities in America live in sin.
10Santa Rosa, California
The northern California city was ranked fifth in Gallup’s list of most Godless and atheist metropolitan areas in the country, as only 23 percent of the population is “very religious.” Still, California has the most megachurches of any state, with 14 percent of the national total.
Bolstering New England’s image of progressive liberalism, the southern New Hampshire town of Manchester reports only 22 percent of its population as “very religious.” The Northeast has the lowest concentration of megachurches in the country, with only one percent of the national total.
Image: flickr/Mr. Littlehand
Even though Boulder is one of the biggest cities in a state that just legalized marijuana, dispensaries in Boulder County have a little bit longer to wait before they can open up shop. Still, the town is undoubtedly open-minded: only 17 percent of residents report being “very religious.”
Burlington sits on the western coast of the most atheist state in the country. Only 19 percent of Vermonters consider themselves “very religious,” and the number is even lower for Burlington, where 17 percent of residents consider themselves religious. Besides, the Ben and Jerry’s factory is located in the city, which is really all the religion you need.
4San Francisco, CA
While this one seems like a no-brainer, San Francisco didn’t even make the Advocate’s top ten list of America’s gayest cities this year, missing the mark at number 11. Still, the city is ranked the fourth least Bible-minded city in the country.
Image: flickr/Jeff Gunn
Although known for being a Catholic city, Boston is the apparently the third least Bible-minded city in the U.S. (Must be all the college students.) It’s also the capital city of Massachusetts, a state ranked the fourth least religious in the country, with only 27 percent of residents identifying as “very religious.”
Image: flickr/Jeff Gunn
New York State’s capital is the second most Godless city in America, according to the American Bible Society. Perhaps Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan for a medical marijuana legalization pilot scheme holds a clue: 49 percent of New Yorkers think he should skip the plan and just go ahead and make it legal.
Providence is officially the least Bible-minded city in the nation, according to the American Bible Society. But they’ve been busy topping other lists: Current Rep. David Cicilline was the city’s first openly gay mayor when he took over the helm of Providence. Rhode Island is the fourth-least religious state in the country, with 29 percent of residents considering themselves “very religious.”