Chattanooga Reigns as America’s Most Bible-Minded City

Southern Cities Dominate Rankings

A newly released study from American Bible Society ranks Chattanooga, Tennessee, as the nation's most Bible-minded city. After claiming the top position in 2013 and 2014, Chattanooga lost its lead to Birmingham, Alabama, in 2015, but reclaimed its position as the leader in 2016 and again this year. Rankings are based on Chattanoogans' thoughts about the Bible's accuracy and reported levels of regular Bible reading. Tennessee has long been the state with the largest number of high-ranking cities—Tri-Cities (No. 4) and Knoxville (No. 9) also ranked in the top 10 for 2017.  

American Bible Society's fifth annual study of America's most Bible-minded cities indicates the Southeast is still the strongest region for Bible friendliness. Birmingham, the 2015 top city, ranked second, followed by Roanoke, Virginia; Tri-Cities, Tennessee; Shreveport, Louisiana; and Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Springfield, Missouri, the only top-10 city outside the Southeast, moved up to the No. 7 spot, followed by Little Rock, Arkansas; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Greenville, South Carolina, to round out the top 10.

To be considered Bible-minded, respondents must state they have read the Bible in the past seven days and believe strongly in the accuracy of the Bible. Nationally, only 25 percent of the population was considered Bible-minded. 

"Examining this data allows us to determine where Americans are engaging with the Bible most," said Samuel Harrell, director of the U.S. city ministry at American Bible Society. "American Bible Society endeavors to provide cutting-edge ways for people to experience the life-changing message of the Bible. This data helps us identify how and where we can best deliver Bible content across the country."


Most Bible-Minded Cities* 

  1. Chattanooga, Tenn. (1)
  2. Birmingham/Anniston/Tuscaloosa, Ala. (2)
  3. Roanoke/Lynchburg, Va. (3)
  4. Tri-Cities, Tenn. (5)
  5. Shreveport, La. (4)
  6. Charlotte, N.C. (6)
  7. Springfield, Mo. (11)
  8. Little Rock/Pine Bluff, Ark. (7)
  9. Knoxville, Tenn. (8)
  10. Greenville/Spartanburg/Anderson, S.C., and Asheville, N.C. (9)

*Parentheses indicate 2016 ranking


Conducted by Barna Group, the study analyzes the Bible-mindedness of the top 100 Nielsen media markets across the United States. Bible-mindedness is calculated from combined levels of regular Bible reading and residents' beliefs in the Bible's accuracy. To view the full list of city rankings, follow this link.

Methodology: The data reported is based on phone and online interviews with nationwide random samples of 76,505 adults conducted over a 10-year period, ending in April 2016. The top 100 cities were determined based on the 100 largest media markets in the continental U.S. as ranked by Nielsen. The maximum margin of sampling error associated with the aggregate sample is ±0.4 percentage points at the 95-percent confidence level. Respondents who reported reading the Bible within the past seven days and agreed strongly with the accuracy of the Bible were classified as Bible-minded.

About American Bible Society
Founded in 1816, American Bible Society works to make the Bible available to every person in a language and format each can understand and afford, so all people may experience its life-changing message. One of the nation's most enduring nonprofit organizations, American Bible Society provides resources across a variety of platforms, enabling first-time readers and seasoned theologians alike to engage with the best-selling book of all time. For more information, visit American.Bible.

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