You may think of New York and Los Angeles as being the most Buddhist cities in the nation, but the results of a new survey may surprise you.
The 2010 U.S. Religious Census: Religious Congregations & Membership Study, conducted by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, found that San Jose, where 1.25 percent of the population reports belonging to a Buddhist congregation, is the most Buddhist city in the U.S.
Rounding out the top 10 are several other Western cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Denver. Just one Midwestern (Oklahoma City, coming in seventh) and one East Coast city (Raleigh, North Carolina, at number 10) made the top 10 list.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, has the largest number of Buddhists, with 117,000 in the metro area. And out of cities where the survey found any Buddhist population at all, Birmingham, Alabama has the smallest, with just 64 Buddhists. The Huffington Post has the full list of cities, and you’ll find the complete U.S. Religion Census report here.
In total, the survey found just under a million Buddhists in the U.S., belonging to 2,854 different congregations. The survey only counts congregations, meaning that unaffiliated Buddhists aren’t included. A Pew Forum study released earlier this year estimated that there are between three and four million Buddhists in the country.
(Paul Hannon’s “Buddhist Landscape” is available from our online gallery.)