Gallup released a survey that showed the most religious cities in the country. With religion increasingly taking a backseat in terms of values for most Millenials, it's interesting to consider where religion remains a vital priority to community life in the United States. As the poll demonstrates, religious bastions tend to be located in either Utah, a heavily Mormon state, or in the South. Check to see where your city fits in.
1. Provo-Orem, Utah:
Photo Credit: USA Today
With 77% of the population considering themselves religious, Provo-Orem is the most religious city in the nation. Provo-Orem boasts the Mormon institute of higher learning, Brigham Young University, and the main missionary training center for the religion.
2. Montgomory, Alabama:
Photo Credit: His Call 888
Montgomery is primary Baptist, with 68% of the population practicing some sort of religion actively.
3. Jackson, Mississippi:
Photo Credit: City of Jackson
Jackson, Mississippi is the third on the list, tying in at 64% of its population identifying as religious. Mississipi is a state that has been lambasted by its policies on sex education, abortion, and LGBT issues, all somewhat related to the power of religious groups in its legislature.
4. Birmingham, Alabama:
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Birmingham hosts not only the largest proportional number of Protestants in the country, but also is the site of Eternal Word Television Network, founded by Mother Angelica. It is the largest religious television network in the world.
5. Huntsville, Alabama:
Photo Credit: Redstone Huntsville Chapter
Huntsville is the final religious city on the list. The city’s schools recently faced controversy for its decision to remove the word "Easter" from its egg hunting tradition in early Spring, drawing the ire of national figures like Rush Limbaugh. Regardless of this secular event, Huntsville is still quite religious, and even includes a "Biker Church" for those whose faith is oriented around Harley Davidsons, within city limits.
While all these cities have significant religious faith within their boundaries, their geographic clustering around other brings up important questions about the nature of faith in the United States. Why is it that so many of these cities are so close together? And what does it say about our national understanding of religion that the location of many of these is somewhat predictable? As those practicing religion continues to decline, a geographic as well as cultural division may continue to persist. We have to hope that these religious cities will continue to be as appealling to those who do not have a faith in mind.