A study measuring religious bodies in the United States called the, “2010 U.S. Religious Census: Religious Congregations & Membership Study (RCMS)” was recently released by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (ASARB). The most comprehensive study of its kind, it provides detailed county by county information on congregations, members, adherents and attendance for 236 different faiths groups. (The survey differentiates between specific denominations within the same tradition.)
Of metropolitan areas with population greater than a million, the researchers found Salt Lake City to be the most Christian* city with approximately 72.5 percent identifying as a Christian adherent. The researchers found the greater area of Portland, OR-WA to be the least Christian city with about 30 percent identifying as a Christian adherent.
The researchers define adherents to be those with an affiliation to a congregation including children, members and attendees who are not members, and believe that the adherent measure is the most complete and comparable across religious groups. Congregations are defined as groups of people who meet regularly at a pre-announced time and location.
More than 150.6 million Christian adherents and 344,894 congregations were reported across the country. With close to 8.9 million Christian adherents, the greater area of New York, NY-NJ-PA reported the highest number of Christian adherents, whereas Rochester, NY reported the lowest — about 440,000 identified as Christian adherents. With 9,172 congregations, the greater area of New York, NY-NJ-PA reported the highest number of congregations in a million-plus metropolitan, whereas the greater area of Las Vegas, NV reported the lowest with 745.