Just because a city has a lot of churches doesn’t necessarily mean it has a lot of religious citizens.
That’s what property research website PropertyShark found in a recent study of buildings designated “for religious use” in cities around the US.
For example, Seattle has the second-highest number of religious institutions per capita, but a full one-third of its residents are unaffiliated. Seattle is behind only Portland in a ranking of cities based on residents with no religious affiliation from the nonprofit Public Religion Research Institute, according to PropertyShark.
San Francisco and Phoenix also had relatively high numbers of religious institutions per capita, and relatively few residents who associated themselves with a religion.
These are the 10 US cities with the most religious venues per capita.
#10 Boston, MA: 1 religious venue for every 1,107 people. According to the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), 24% of Boston population also considers themselves to be “religiously unaffiliated.” The national average in metropolitan areas is 22%.
#9 Houston, TX: 1 religious venue for every 1,085 people. Houston has 1,991 religious buildings to service its population of some 2.1 million. PRRI says 18% of Houston residents are classified as religiously unaffiliated, 4% below the national metropolitan average.
#8 Charlotte, NC: 1 religious venue for every 1,053 people. Charlotte has 736 religious locations for its population of about 775,000. Only 17% of Charlotte residents are religiously unaffiliated, according to PRRI.
#7 Dallas, TX: 1 religious venue for every 909 people. Dallas has 1,366 religious institutions for its population of 1.2 million. PRRI says 18% of Dallas residents are religiously unaffiliated.
#6 Columbus, OH: 1 religious venue for every 907 people. Columbus has 893 religious locations for a population of 809,798 people. PRRI notes that the religiously unaffiliated in Columbus comprise 24% of the population, 2% higher than the national metropolitan average.
#5 Memphis, TN: 1 religious venue for every 804 people. Memphis has 815 religious venues for a population of 655,155. Memphis is not ranked in the PRRI study.
#4 Washington D.C.: 1 religious venue for every 738 people. D.C. has 857 religious locations for some 650,000 residents. PRRI says 23% of the nation’s capital is religiously unaffiliated.
#3 Jacksonville, FL: 1 religious venue for every 562 people. Jacksonville has 1,488 places of worship for a population of some 836,000. Jacksonville is not ranked in the PRRI study.
#2 Seattle, WA: 1 religious venue for every 481 people. 1,355 religious venues in Seattle serve some 650,000 residents. This is surprising considering 33% of Seattle’s population identifies themselves as religiously unaffiliated — the second highest rate of any city in America (Portland is first) — according to PRRI.
#1 Indianapolis, IN: 1 religious venue for every 289 people. Indianapolis has a whopping 2,892 religious institutions for 834,852 inhabitants. PRRI says 19% of the population is religiously unaffiliated. That means 676,230 people can pick from 2,892 places of worship. No one congregation need be larger than 233 people!
PropertyShark also created a map that shows the cities with the most religiously unaffiliated people compared to the cities with the highest amount of religious institutions.