Southern Baptist Churches & Baptisms and the 50 Largest Metropolitan Areas 

  • Churches 
    • Fifty percent of SBC churches were in the nation's metropolitan areas, compared to 80 percent of the population.
    • Half of the churches in metros were in the 50 largest metros:25 percent of all SBC churches are in these largest metropolitan areas.
    • From 1990 to 2000, Southern Baptists had a net gain of 3,448 churches in the largest 50 metros.
    • Growth of churches occurred at a rate of 22 percent in these areas compared to population growth of 15 percent.
    • The Philadelphia area grew from 53 churches in 1990 to 146 in 2000.
  • Population per Church 
    • The ratio of population to churches varies greatly by region.
    • In large Southern metros, there are 6,700 persons per SBC church.
    • In large metros outside the South, this ratio is almost 33,000 per SBC church.
    • Grand Rapids (218,000), Minneapolis-St. Paul (165,000), and New York (138,000) are examples of metropolitan areas with huge numbers of people per SBC church.
    • The population per church ratio improved in the 50 largest metros combined: A result of the number of churches growing faster than the population from 1990 to 2000.
    • Large metros in the South and West that experienced rapid population growth have had difficulty matching that growth in the number of churches.
  • Baptisms 
    • The largest 50 metropolitan areas, home to 58 percent of the nation's population, reported 37 percent of baptisms (152,000) in 2000.
    • The 21 large metros in the South reported 115,000 baptisms, compared to 37,000 for the 29 large metros outside the South.         
  • Baptisms/1000  
    • Calculating baptisms per 1,000 population provides a comparison of the evangelistic penetration of Southern Baptists in an area.
    • Nationally, this ratio was 1.47 baptisms per 1,000 population in 2000.
    • Three of the large Southern metros, Jacksonville, Nashville, and Oklahoma City, reported more than 4 baptisms per 1,000 population.
    • Several areas outside the South, led by Grand Rapids, New York, and Minneapolis-St. Paul, reported fewer than 0.1 baptisms per 1,000 population.

Download full Research ReportAmerica's 50 Largest Metros 1990-2000
 This Research Report may also be of interest, America's Mid Level Metropolitan Areas
 Download PowerPoint® Slides