Denominational Distribution: The Most Catholic and Protestant Cities in the U.S.


Infographics in Cities & States • March 15, 2018

Last year marked 500 years since the Protestant Reformation, but it’s not hard to see that the impact of the most significant Church split in history is still felt today. For instance, the World Christian Encyclopedia estimates that over 30,000 Christian denominations exist worldwide. Churches of all stripes practice their own flavor of ministry in cities across the United States, all based on particular interpretations of scripture and style. But what is the denominational makeup of each city in America? What are the most Catholic cities? Which areas have the greatest percentages of Baptist, or Lutheran or Pentecostal residents?

Over the years, Barna has been tracking denominational affiliation and publishing this data in our cities reports. In the infographic below, we list the top five cities for each of the main denominational categories and a few of the largest Protestant ones (specific denominational definitions below).

See the full rankings of each city here.

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About the Research
The data reported in this resource are based on telephone and online interviews with nationwide random samples of 76,505 adults conducted over a seven-year period, ending in April 2016. The maximum margin of sampling error associated with the aggregate sample is plus or minus 0.4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. The data were analyzed by DMA. The label “DMA” stands for Designated Market Area and represents a unique geographic area that also serves as a commonly accepted media market as defined by The Nielsen Company. DMAs have been configured so that the entire U.S. is assigned to one—and only one—of 210 DMAs in the country and are based on the television viewing habits of the residents in each county. While there are 210 DMAs, this table contains data for the top 100 markets.

Baptist: name some type of Baptist affiliation
Methodist: name some type of Methodist affiliation
Lutheran: name some type of Lutheran affiliation
Non-denominational: identify non-denominational affiliation
Mainline: includes American Baptist Churches, Episcopal, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, United Church of Christ, United Methodist, and Presbyterian Church, USA
Non-mainline: includes Protestant churches not included in mainline denominations
Charismatic / Pentecostal: includes Assemblies of God, Church of God (Cleveland), Foursquare, United Pentecostal and Vineyard

*Though many more denominations exist and are included in overall totals, most sample sizes are too small to report on with specificity and are therefore not included in the infographic.

About Barna Group
Barna Group is a private, non-partisan, for-profit organization under the umbrella of the Issachar Companies. Located in Ventura, California, Barna Group has been conducting and analyzing primary research to understand cultural trends related to values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors since 1984.

© Barna Group, 2018

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