The Five Most Sinful Cities in America

Las Vegas of course, with a motto like ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’ has the reputation of being America’s version of ‘sin city’. But what if someone used a more comprehensive index of what counts as sin, say the seven deadly sins, and looked at the 100 top population areas in America using that index. Just for review, in case you’ve been napping, the seven deadly sins are envy, gluttony, greed, lust, pride, sloth, and wrath (violence falling under the category of wrath). The person who came up with this survey is one Randy Nelson of Movoto.com, a property listing site. What he was trying to calibrate was desirability factors for people considering moving to one city or another. He was able to amass data on 95 of the top 100 population centers in America, and you may be surprised by the results. Remember the results are the result of the agragate score or average of the manifestation of the seven deadly sins. As it turns out, Las Vegas, N.Y., Chicago, and L.A. do not make the top five. Far out man. Here is a clue as to how Nelson measured things…

The expert ended up matching each behavior on the church’s 1,400-year-old list of sins with a modern-day measure of immorality.

“Nelson gauged Wrath by looking at the FBI’s annual report on each U.S. city’s violent-crime rate — the number of murders, robberies, aggravated assaults, rapes and non-negligent manslaughter cases reported each year per 1,000 residents.

Other measures the study used:

Envy. Movoto quantified this sin by looking at each community’s FBI property-crime rate, which counts how many burglaries, larcenies and car thefts occur each year per 1,000 residents.
Gluttony. The study looked at the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control’s latest estimates of each city’s obesity rate.
Greed. Nelson calculated Greed by using Philanthropy.com’s figures of how much the average person in each locale gives to charity in a given year. The lower the percentage of disposable income donated, the higher the assumed greed.
Lust. The site ranked each community’s Lust level by determining the number of strip clubs per capita advertised on Yelp.com.
Pride. Nelson measured Pride by calculating how many plastic surgeons each city has per capita, again based on Yelp.com listings.
Sloth. Movoto judged Sloth by looking at CDC estimates of each city’s inactivity rate, the percent of a community’s population that’s not physically active.” [ taken from the article about this http://www.thestreet.com/story/11980303/1/5-most-sinful-cities-in-america.html All quotes in what follows are from this article].

Coming in 5th place as America’s most sinful city is Milwaukee. The beer city’s long winter and apparently good beer has led to over 32% of the population being obese (judged by the CDC). Gluttony is clearly the sin of choice of this city. In addition, “Wisconsin’s largest city also ranks 14th for Envy, 16th for Pride and Sloth and 18th for Wrath. On the plus side, Milwaukee only comes in at 40th place for Greed and 62nd place for Lust.”

Coming in 4th place as American’s most sinful city is Pittsburgh! It ranks near the top for Pride and Sloth (oh those Steeler fans). in terms of Pride, it has “one cosmetic surgeon practicing there for every 3,170 residents. The city also comes in ninth for Sloth, with the CDC estimating 28.4% of Pittsburghers are inactive. Among other sins, Pittsburgh ranks 14th for Greed, 20th for Lust, 26th for Wrath and 27th for Gluttony. But residents do score low on Envy, placing just 66th among the 95 cities that Movoto studied.”

The third most sinful city in America is—-Minneapolis! “The CDC estimates 30% of Minneapolis residents are inactive — a rate second only that of Tulsa, Okla. Lust and Pride are also twin winners in the Twin City, with Minneapolis placing 10th in the Movoto study for both. The community also ranks 15th for Gluttony, 23rd for Wrath, 31st for Greed and 37th for Envy.”

The second most sinful city in America is— Orlando Florida! What will Mickey and Minnie say! “Orlando ties St. Louis for third place in terms of Sloth, with an estimated 28.8% of local residents considered inactive. The Florida city also places fifth for Envy and Pride, 11th for Lust, 19th for Wrath and 24th for Gluttony. On the other hand, Orlando residents are far less Goofy when it comes to Greed. Movoto says the city only comes in at 48th place for that deadly sin.” You can see from this why Asbury felt compelled to open a seminary campus in Orlando. It is indeed a mission field :)

And the most sinful city in America is—— St. Louis!!!

“The site found that the Gateway to the West places No. 2 for Wrath and Envy, with 20 violent crimes and 65 property incidents per year for every 1,000 St. Louis residents. Only rough-and-tumble Detroit scores worse on those measures among cities Movoto looked at. “The two things that really put St. Louis at the top of the list are thefts and violent crimes,” Nelson says. St. Louis also places third for Sloth, ninth for Pride and 24th for Gluttony. On the upside, the city only comes in 40th place for Greed and 95th place — dead last — for Lust. Nelson says that’s because no strip joints operate within St. Louis city limits.”

What should we conclude from this list? All the cities, save for Orlando are in the Midwest, supposedly the bastion of wholesome, clean, Christian living. Apparently—- not so much! The other thing to notice about this index is that it doesn’t just focus on violent crime or sexual sin. In terms of the latter, St. Louis, a predominantly Catholic town, is dead last. This does not prevent it from rating high in terms of other sins.

Now you may be saying, why should we have an index that has all these things listed? Well consider some of the vice lists in the New Testament– they do indeed include things like envy and wrath and gluttony and pride. Read the following lists generated by Jesus, Paul and others—-

Mt. 15.19; Mk. 7.21-22; Rom. 1.29-31; Rom. 13.13; 1 Cor. 5.10-11; 1 Cor. 6.9-10; 2 Cor. 12.20-21; Gal. 5.19-21; Ephes. 4.31; Ephes. 5.3-5; Col. 3.5-8; 1 Tim. 1.9-10; 2 Tim. 3.2-5; Titus 3.3; 1 Pet. 2.1; 4.3; 4.15; Rev. 9.21; 21.8; 22.15.

When we look more comprehensively at what counts as sin in the NT, one of the things this tells us is that Americans tend to focus much too narrowly on sexual sins or sins of violence and theft of various kinds. They do not tend to deal with the internal motivating sins like pride, greed, sloth, gluttony, etc. Perhaps most telling of all, the cities listed in these indexes all have a pretty high rate of church attendance, both Catholic and Protestant, but it doesn’t seem to be much changing the moral ethos of those cities.

Think on these things.

  • DavePC

    Seems to me that gluttony and sloth got a lot of emphasis on this list…

    Sounds interesting, but I’d have lots and lots of methodology questions here.

  • Boethius

    Looks to me like real Christians need to cheer for the Reds or Cubs.

  • pastordt

    Really fascinating. Far from a ‘scientific’ study, I’m sure, but interesting parameters and search categories. Thanks.

  • http://www.missionalyouthministry.com/ Robbie Mackenzie

    I really enjoyed this article and the way the data was developed. Interesting. I wonder what the 5 most righteous cities are?

  • http://thehighcalling.org/ Marcus Goodyear

    It is especially interesting that they have tried to identify behavioral and statistical proxies for sinful desires.

    Ben, I’d be curious which ones you think are good matches and which ones are problems. This seems to open the door to a very interesting discussion of sinful behavior and sinful desires.

  • pagansister

    Fun to read. As for accuracy? Who knows. I don’t live in any of those “sinful” cities, but did live in one of them in the early 1980′s—Orlando.

  • Zeke

    Plainly, it shows that belief in God does not correlate with a moral society.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com/ Steve Martin

    Since “sin” really describes our condition (more accurately) rather than what we do, or do not do…ALL people in ALL cities are in the same boat.

    We don’t stop sinning because we don’t want to stop.

    We actually need a Savior…and not a life coach.

  • Bilal Irfan

    Today, many stuff which aint tidy are never considered as sins, enjoyed reading though.
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  • Brian s

    But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.

  • Steve Clarke

    What about the UK?
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    OCDGetting perspective

  • Quid

    Brood of vipers!

    Seems like SF should be on that list. It’s the city known for being most “tolerant” to any kind of sin.

  • pagansister

    What ABOUT the UK?


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