New Orleans, Louisiana 

America's 10 Most Religious Cities

Religion and faith-based practices have consistently been fundamental components of American society, and nearly 65% of citizens report an attachment to at least one of the major global religions. While Christianity dominates the demographics, with more than 60% of Americans following, adherents of other faiths like Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism can also be found in concentrated numbers across the nation. Based on data collected by Insider Monkey, this article looks at the country's most religious cities. The data for the below ranking was derived from records kept by the Public Religion Research Institute. Cities having the highest percentage of believers in both 2018 and 2019 were chosen and a 70% weightage was given to the 2019 rankings to complie the list.

1. Greenville, South Carolina  

Daniel Chapel at Furman University on May 2, 2019 in Greenville, South Carolina.
Daniel Chapel at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina.

With a modest population of 70,720 residents, Greenville is amongst the most religious mid-size towns in America, and only 13% claim to have no religious affiliation at all. Like the other cities on this list, Protestant Christianity is the dominant faith in Greenville and nearly a quarter of all worshippers identify as Baptists. Other Protestant denominations of note in the city include the Pentecostalists, the Methodists, and the Presbyterians. Just under 7% belong to the Catholic Church, while Islam and Judaism account for less than 1% of all practicing adherents.

2. Winston-Salem, North Carolina  

Wait Chapel at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
People gathered outside the Wait Chapel in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Editorial credit: Bryan Pollard /

Winston-Salem traces its roots back to the 18th century and, like many Southern States that form part of the "Bible Belt," has a strong Christian tradition in its religious population. Just under 55% report a Christian religious affiliation, with Baptists comprising roughly 15% and Methodists at 12%. Catholics make up around 5% of the total population, while Muslims and Jews make up less than 1% of all religious followers in the city. 

3. Knoxville, Tennessee 

Knoxville, Tennessee
The First Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee.

With a modest population of just under 191,000, nearly 65% of Knoxville's residents identify as religious. Another key member of the "Bible Belt," where Protestant Christianity dominates much social and cultural discourse, Tennessee's third largest city has a high concentration of practicing Baptists at 32%. Amongst the other Protestant denomination of note in this historic city are Presbyterians, Methodists, and Pentecostalists. The Catholic Church represents only about 5% of the city's Christians, while the other major faiths of Judaism and Islam both report just under 1% of total adherents, respectively. 

4. Birmingham, Alabama

16th Street Baptist Church as seen from Kelly Ingram Park
16th Street Baptist Church as seen from Kelly Ingram Park in Birmingham.

Right in the heart of the "Bible Belt," Alabama has long held a Christian and particularly Protestant majority for much of its history. According to various polls, this city of 200,733 residents has the highest concentration of Protestants in the United States, at 86% of its population. Of this, 49% identify as either Baptist or Pentecostal, while Methodists, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians accounted for around 13%. Members of the Catholic Church make up only about 7% of Birmingham's Christians. Other faiths like Buddhism, Islam, and Judaism have staggered numbers but ultimately only makeup about 1 to 2 % of the total religious population.

5. Charleston, South Carolina 

Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, a Reformed Judaism synagogue in Charleston. Founded in 1749, the sanctuary is the second oldest in the U.S. and oldest in continuous use.

Informally known as "The Holy City," Charleston, like many former cities established by the British, maintains a strong Protestant tradition. Amongst the largest denominations are Baptists, Methodists, and Pentecostalists, while just under 5% identify as Catholic. With its nickname allegedly referring to its religious tolerance, Charleston has long been known for accommodating non-Christian faiths in great numbers. This is especially evident in the Jewish community, with one of the oldest operating synagogues in the country located in the city and established in 1749.

6. Allentown, Pennsylvania  

Pennsylvania's third largest city, Allentown was founded back in 1762. As one of the former Thirteen Colonies established by the British, the Protestant branch of Christianity (and its eventual sub-denominations) flourished in the area. Today, just over 51% of residents in Allentown identify as Christian. The largest Pentecostal churches in the city include Presbyterianism, Methodism, and Lutheranism, while members of the Catholic Church comprise some 20% of the population. Islam, Judaism, and other Eastern faiths make up less than 1% of the religious community in Allentown.

7. Dallas, Texas 

Dallas church
Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in Dallas.

Dallas has a predominantly Christian religious following, with some 78% of residents belonging to a Christian denomination. Of these, 50% adhere to Protestantism, while just under 25% are Catholics. Indeed throughout the city, many Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist churches can be found, while Catholic Cathedrals like the Santuario de Guadalupe anchor the city's Roman Catholic diocese. As with many former Spanish colonial lands, Texas has shown a consistent Christian social identity, and it also forms a part of the "Bible Belt." In addition, Dallas has the largest Jewish population in all of Texas, with nearly 75,000 followers, while Buddhists are also fairly prominent in the suburbs. Still, in total, these groups only make up around 1% of the city's total religious population.

8. Atlanta, Georgia 

Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his father were pastors of this church. Editorial credit: Nagel Photography /

Georgia's capital boasts a population of just under 500,000 residents, where some 73% identify as religious. Christianity again encompasses the majority, and prominent Protestant, Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, and Orthodox communities can be found. The Protestant denomination (which includes Baptists. Lutherans, and Evangelicals) comprises the greatest number of followers in Atlanta, with nearly 63%, while Catholicism is a distant second with 11% of the city's population. Once more, owing to a historic black and enslaved person population, Christianity has dominated much of the Southern United States, and Georgia has long formed part of the famed "Bible Belt." Faiths like Judaism and Islam make up only 1% of Atlanta's religious population.

9. Fresno, California 

Fresno, California
St. John's Cathedral on Mariposa Street in Fresno, California.

Founded by Spanish settlers in the 19th century, Fresno has a modern population of just over 542,000 inhabitants. Of these, nearly 52% identify as religious, with Catholicism accounting for 32%. Owing to California's Spanish colonial history, many towns with Latin foundational roots continue to have large Christian communities. In addition to the Catholic Church, Baptists, Mormons, and Pentecostals make up the largest Christian denominations in Fresno. Other major faiths like Islam and Judaism each record less than 1% of the city's population. 

10. New Orleans, Louisiana 

The warm sunlight shines inside of St. Marys Assumption Church, a beautiful German Catholic Church
The warm sunlight shines inside of St. Marys Assumption Church, a beautiful German Catholic Church in New Orleans. Editorial credit: Sean Xu /

With a religious affiliation of nearly 76%, New Orleans can trace its predominantly Roman Catholic community to the colonial Spanish and French eras. Indeed around 40% of the city's population identifies as Catholic, while other Christian denominations fill sizable minorities. The largest of these is the Baptist Church, with adherents making up 12%. Due to the further influence of African slavery in the region, Caribbean voodoo is also prevalent in the "Big Easy," though its followers have dwindled significantly over time. Finally, there are approximately 7,000 practicing Jews in the city, comprising less than 1% of the population. 

Religion continues to be an important and influential force in American social, political and cultural life, and more than half of all citizens report a religious affiliation of some kind. The ten cities on this list reflect the urban centers where practicing faith has taken an even more prominent place than the average American city. While Christianity and its various denominations dominate, it is clear that whatever one religious belief, America is certainly a land of prayer and faith for people of all backgrounds. 

  1. Home
  2. Places
  3. Cities
  4. America's 10 Most Religious Cities

More in Places