Often referred to as simply “The City,” San Francisco has emerged as a global center for artistic expression, technological innovation, and social experimentation. Unlike many other regions of the U.S. with strong Christian belief and practice, this area has high numbers of people who identify as atheist or agnostic or as having “no faith”—22%, over two times the national average) and significantly low numbers of practicing Christians—those who have attended a church or religious gathering in the last month and who say faith is an important part of their lives—20%, compared to a 43% national average. Additionally, there is low levels of trust for the Bible—approximately half disagree that the Bible is totally accurate in all the principles it teaches, and only 14% are Bible-minded (having read the Bible within the past seven days and agreeing strongly that it is accurate). Although faith engagement activities like prayer and reading the Bible are consistently low in San Francisco, engagement with non-profits remains strong (19% volunteer their time and 80% donate their money).
The size of churches in the San Francisco area are on the smaller side—78% of congregations consist of less than 500 people, and 33% consist of less than 100. These small churches are not extremely surprising when you also consider that 43% of respondents strongly disagree to the idea that they are responsible to evangelize and share their faith with others. Compared to national averages, practicing Christians are more likely to have a liberal political ideology (18%, 10% national average) and to be registered as Democrats (42%, 35% national average). Marriage and children are also less common among practicing Christians—25% have never married and 60% have no children under the age of 18. Although these percentages are lower than practicing Christian averages across the U.S., they’re still higher than among the unchurched in the San Francisco area (35% have never married, and 81% have no children under the age of 18).