North central Ala. is nation’s 5th most ‘churched’ area

North central Ala. is nation’s 5th most ‘churched’ area

Stretching across north central Alabama is the nation’s fifth most “churched” area, according to a recent Barna poll.

The region that spreads from Tuscaloosa through Birmingham to Anniston is 56 percent churched, just a few percentage points behind the two cities that tied for No. 1 — Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Salt Lake City, Utah.

For the purpose of the study “churched” was defined as those who have attended a church service other than a wedding or a funeral in the past week.

Those who said they have not attended a regular church service in the past six months were described as “unchurched.”

A third group — the “dechurched” — were those who had not attended a service in six months but also used to be somewhat or very involved.

The study showed the last two groups to have similarities.

‘Unchurched’ areas

At the top of the list of “unchurched” cities was California’s San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose area. It also topped the list of “dechurched” — 47 percent of people surveyed there fell into that category.

Trends show church attendance in the U.S. is on the decline, according to The Christian Post.

Using data from the study, Barna created a list of the most “post-Christian” cities.

To qualify as “post-Christian,” people must “meet nine or more of our 16 criteria, which identify a lack of Christian identity, belief and practice.”

The criteria include “whether individuals identify as atheist, have never made a commitment to Jesus, have not attended church in the last year or have not read the Bible in the last week.”


The top post-Christian city in America? The Portland-Auburn, Maine, area, which ranked at 57 percent post-Christian — the same percentage as the “churched” in the belt across Birmingham-Tuscaloosa-Anniston.

Following at No. 2 was the Boston-Manchester area at 56 percent post-Christian, trailed by several other cities in Rhode Island, Vermont, Massachusetts and New York.

The north central Alabama region only had 19 percent who qualified as post-Christian. (TAB)