30 Least Religious Cities in the US

Ty Haqqi
·10 min read

In this article we are going to list the 30 least religious in the US. Click to skip ahead and jump to the top 10 least religious cities in the US. Most of these cities will be voting for Joe Biden in the coming presidential election.

Religion is one of the hottest topics right now, and also one of the controversial, which it always has been. Having a proper conversion, discussion or argument devoid of emotion on this topic is unlikely because without emotions, there is no religion.

Throughout history, if you'll notice one thing, it's that people have always prayed to someone or something. Be it fire, the sun, water, idols, Allah or Jesus, man has always found solace in believing in a higher purpose and a higher being. After all, believing in something bigger than you, something that makes sense in a world devoid of logic and having faith allows you to consider the fact that maybe there is some reason for existence and if everything seems to be going to hell, that there's a reason behind it as well, one which we may not be aware of and dare not question. Everything happens for a reason after all. If you lose a loved one, you can feel better thinking everything happens for a reason. You lost your job? Everything happens for a reason. Lost a limb in an accident? Everything happens for a reason. If someone does not believe this, then an already cold world becomes colder, which perhaps explains why religion is so popular, even though it may not always be the same religion popular among the masses.

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Many people, especially fundamentalists, believe that there is nothing without religion. That whatever they have, whoever they have is only due to the specific religion they follow, and hence, wear their religion on their sleeve. And it's because of this obsession with religion that it has always been a very controversial topic to discuss, while criticizing it can actually be a danger to your life. Making fun of it can get you killed in many countries, especially Muslim countries, where there is no separation of religion and state, and criticizing religion can see you get a death penalty. Even in other countries, which are secular, criticizing or making fun of religion can be dangerous, as proven by the Charlie Hebdo attacks, when cartoonists drew the Prophet Muhammad and got killed for their efforts. Did they need to do it, when it wasn't even funny and they knew would only hurt the sentiments of Muslims? No, they didn't. Did they deserve to die for drawing a picture? Of course not!

Despite what I've written so far, religion is perhaps not as strong as it once was. Information across the world is at the tip of our fingers and we are no longer forced to believe what our forefathers have said. We are allowed to make our own decision, differentiate between right and wrong. This is one of the reasons why many people may believe in a God, but don't follow religion as closely. It is also why agnosticism and atheism is on the rise. This is especially true for Europe, where atheism is high in many countries, and the majority of the people don't follow any religion. In Asia, China and Russia have the highest number of atheists.

While the US was the first government in the world to have no religious affiliation with the state, many states had their own religious affiliations in the early 1800s. In the US, while atheism and agnosticism has been increasing even as the strength of religion declines, the changes are still slight. The US is still very much a religious country over all, with around 70% being Christians. Of course, it varies from state to state and city to city. While some are very conservative and religious, others are quite liberal and leaning towards the left. Accurate numbers are hard to obtain since the US Census does not ask people for their religions (again lending credence to how controversial this topic can be), but the general opinion and other surveys show that more and more people are now no longer affiliated with a religion. Go back just one generation to the Boomer generation and there, you will hardly find anyone who opposes religion in any way or form. In 1963, 90% of US adults identified as Christian and only 2% said they were not affiliated with a religion. Now, that percentage has gone up to 18.2%, a significant jump even though many people are still not open about their beliefs, fearing repercussions. After all, a nationwide poll in 2006 by the University of Minnesota showed that atheists were trusted less than Muslims, immigrants and other minorities as well. In New York in 2001, a study showed that no religious identification actually had the highest increase in both percentage terms and absolute terms. Young people are much more likely to not believe in religion and a third of all people from 18-29 are thought to be irreligious.

To determine our list of least religious cities in the US, sources were hard to come by. Like I said, the Census does not take this information and most polls are quiet old. If you do a quick search, you will most likely be referred to a 7 year old Gallup poll, while a lot can change in 7 years. Hence, we headed on over a report by the Public Religion Research Institute, which conducts surveys and reports on various topics, including of course religion. We were able to gain the latest information on religious cities or lack thereof based on the percentage of people who were unaffiliated with any religion. So let's take a look at the cities, where not believing in religion won't get you judged to infinity and beyond:

28. Salt Lake City

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 28

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 24

You might be surprised that a city in a state like Utah has so many religiously unaffiliated people, but while Salt Lake City may be dominated by Mormons, there are many who frankly don't care either way.

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28. Richmond

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 28

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 24

The unaffiliated percentage decrease in Richmond, and part of it may be due to the growing Islamic population, necessitating the need for several mosques in the city.

28. Indianapolis

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 28

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 24

Indianapolis is completely in line with the national average for religious unaffiliated at 24%, with a higher concentration than even Roman Catholics in the city.

Copyright: alexeys / 123RF Stock Photo

27. Riverside

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 26

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 25

While Riverside has a strong religious presence, especially in Christians and Mormons, there are many who simply do not identify with any religion in the city.

sangaku/Shutterstock.com

26. Los Angeles

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 29

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 24

Who's surprised that Los Angeles, home to some of the richest and most affluent people in the country, is also devoid of religion? Who needs religion when you have money after all.

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15 Highest Paying Cities for Teachers

Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock.com

25. San Diego

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 27

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 25

While 68% of the people may be Christian, with a nearly even split of Protestants and Roman Catholics, other religions barely have a major impact, leaving room for the religiously unaffiliated to shine.

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Most Ethnically Diverse Cities in America

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24. Minneapolis

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 25

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 26

More than 50 denominations of religions have a presence in Minneapolis, and yet, many still refuse to identify with any particular religion, allowing it to become one of the least religious cities in the US.

Pixabay/Public Domain

23. Milwaukee

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 27

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 26

Only 52% of Milwaukee's population regularly attends religious services, and when you're not actively involved in religion, it's a pretty easy task to completely lose track of it.

Pixabay/Public Domain

22. Baltimore

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 25

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 27

Protestants and Catholics make up the vast majority of Baltimore residents, and it's one of the few cities in our list where the unaffiliated percentage has actually increased year on year.

Pixabay / Public Domain

20. Louisville

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 21

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 29

Louisville has seen a drastic increase in unaffiliated residents, pushing it up our list.

20. Tampa-St.Petersburg

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 28

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 26

The Tampa Bay area is a famous area surrounding the Tampa Bay in Florida and includes three cities, whose residents are quite carefree about religion to an extent.

Pixabay/Public Domain

19. Orlando

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 22

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 29

Florida pops up again with Orlando, home to the Walt Disney World Resort and the Universal Orlando Resort, attracting a ton of people to the city.

Copyright: blanscape / 123RF Stock Photo

17. Columbus

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 30

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 26

The capital of Ohio has many religious sites to cater to the various religions present in the city, even though perhaps the largest group there is the one not affiliated to any religion.

Pixabay/Public Domain

17. St. Louis

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 24

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 29

3% of the residents of St. Louis were atheists in 2014 according to a PEW research report, and the way atheism has grown in the past couple of decades, this number has only likely increased further.

St. Louis
St. Louis

Pixabay/Public Domain

16. Providence

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 31

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 26

The capital of Rhode Island may have seen a drop of 5% in the religiously unaffiliated but still easily makes our list.

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island, rhode, ri, usa, state, narragansett, capitol, scenic, bay, outdoor, downtown, tower, street, america, town

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14. Phoenix

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 28

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 28

The capital of Arizona has over 1.6 million residents, who have shown remarkable consistency in their religious beliefs, as the percentage of unaffiliated hasn't changed at all.

Pixabay/Public Domain

14. Boston

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 28

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 28

Boston is one of the most historic cities in the US and is home to its oldest and arguably most prestigious educational institute in Harvard University, and you can learn more about it in the best Ivy League schools ranked by selectivity.

Pixabay/Public domain

13. Tucson

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 31

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 28

You may think that a city in Arizona would be conservative but the truth is the opposite; it has some of the least religious cities in the US, including Tucson.

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Pixabay/Public Domain

11. Sacramento

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 32

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 28

Ideas such as billboards denouncing the need of God are not uncommon in Sacramento, a stunt which took place in 2013 to give a voice to non believers.

Raimundo79/Shutterstock.com

11. Omaha

Unaffiliated percentage in 2018: 25

Unaffiliated percentage in 2019: 31

Omaha is the largest city of Nebraska, with nearly 500,000 people and has seen a significant jump in the number of unaffiliated people as well.

Click to continue reading and see the top 10 least religious cities in the US. Disclosure: 30 least religious cities in the U.S. is originally published at Insider Monkey.