Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Largest U.S. Cities Without a Temple

Until last October when the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple was announced, the largest city in the United States without a temple was Philadelphia. I wanted to provide a list of the 10 largest cities in the country without a temple. Population numbers were taken from www.citypopulation.de and approximate the total metropolitan population.
  1. Miami - 5.5 million (12th largest U.S. city)
  2. Tampa - 2.825 million (18th largest U.S. city)
  3. Cleveland - 2.775 million (20th largest U.S. city)
  4. Pittsburgh - 2.35 million (22nd largest U.S. city)
  5. Cincinnati - 2.15 million (25 largest U.S. city)
  6. Indianapolis - 1.94 million (29th largest U.S. city)
  7. Milwaukee - 1.74 million (31st largest U.S. city)
  8. Charlotte - 1.72 million (32nd largest U.S. city)
  9. Virginia Beach - 1.67 million (33rd largest U.S. city)
  10. Austin - 1.66 million (34th largest U.S. city)

Many of these cities are not too far away from existing temples, which is one of the likely reasons there are no temples in these cities today. All of these cities have between 2-5 stakes.


Unknown said...

Austin is close to San Antonio, Texas close that is.

Unknown said...

One could say that Cleveland has the Kirtland Temple, but maybe not. Indianapolis heads toward the Louisville temple, which is a little over an hour away. Pittsburgh belongs to the Washington DC temple district, over a 4-hour commute; and is making a bid to move to the Columbus Temple District, a 2-hour commute.
Cincinnati is between Louisville and Columbus; probably an hour each way.

BYUfansr8 said...

Virginia Beach is 4 to 4 1/2 hours from the DC Temple (without traffic... which there always is!!) We would LOVE a Temple closer!!!

Craig Hall said...

If one were to look geographically at where the temples are, one of the places it makes most sense to build a temple would be Little Rock, Arkansas.

katamb said...

What a blessing the temple is Philly is going to be to the members in that area! My friends live in southern NJ and it takes them 3 hours to get to Washington DC. Now they can be from home to a session in an hour.

Lee A. Hona said...

To spin this the other way ... I was recently thinking what might be the SMALLEST town/city in the world that does have an LDS Temple. I think it's either Manti or Colonia Juarez. Am I missing any?

Lee A. Hona said...

Re: Kirtland Temple

I wouldn't count that as it's owned by the CoC and is not (nor was ever) used for what we think of as the full Endowment, though they did do washings & anointings.

It is the perfect prototype of the "multi-use" temple that we see later in Nauvoo, where certain sections are for public worship/assembly and others are blocked off (or put on upper floors) for special instruction. I'm not sure but I think in the early Utah years, temples with assembly halls were also used for public gathering but I could be wrong about this. We may be seeing a partial return to this thinking in examples such as Manhattan and Hong Kong.

Unknown said...

To Charlie,
Kirtland Temple clearly does not count. No actual endownments have ever been done there, or sealings for that matter.
Indianapolis to Louisville is only an hour if you break the laws of the land, and even at that I think it would only be on the freeway.
However, probably the largest U.S. city without a Temple is San Jose, California. We can not count Oakland, because that was already the temple for San Francisco, and we can't double count temples in more than one city.
Part of the issue is do we count cities or Metro-Areas. Either way, San Jose is not San Francisco, and so we have a metro-area without a temple there.
Beyond this your time estimates all are built on people having cars, something that many people in urban centers do not have. This is why the Manahattan Temple is much closer for members in that city than the White Plains Temple would have been.

Unknown said...

The Virginia Beach/Norfolk area is one of the more removed from a temple of major Metro areas.
I hate to say this, but here in Metro-Detroit we were closer to the Toronto Temple than you are to te DC Temple. It probably does not help that the temple is on the other side of DC, gauranteeing that you will face traffic. Hang in there, I for one will pray for you to get a temple.

Unknown said...

With the current rate of Church growth, and with the distance to Memphis, I would think it would be good to place a temple in Branson, Missouri, toget both the Springfield and the Bentonville/Fayetteville people in the temple district. However, I have never actually been in Arkansas, so maybe I am a bit optimistic. However, with the Kansas City Temple being north of the Missouri River, Springfield is still going to be a long way from the temple, and Oklahoma City and Memphis are also a long way away as well.

Unknown said...

Sorry to make so many comments, but I am trying to stay on topic.
Lee, I think Monticello Utah may be smaller than Manti. I am not sure, I know there are fewer church members in Monticello, but the percentage of Church members in San Juan County Utah is under 50%, whereas in Manti it is probably around 80%, so the comparison might not work.
Snowflake is not all that large either, nor is the Gila Valley where they are building a temple.

Matt said...

I am excited to see everything everyone has to say about this post. Something I wanted to mention is that the Church seems to have phased out the small 10,700 square foot temples developed by President Hinckley. With that being said, I imagine that when or if these cities have temples in them, they will likely be medium sized temples. This might mean that a temple in most of these cities will have to wait until more growth has happened.

It is difficult to say which of these cities is most likely to have a temple. These cities have the following temple scores.

Miami - 27
Tampa - 27
Cleveland - 18
Pittsburgh - 18
Cincinnati - 16
Indianapolis - 33
Milwaukee - 21
Charlotte - 16
Virginia Beach - 30
Austin - 16

Unknown said...

I did some checking on stats. I could not find figures on Colonia Juarez itself, but it is right by Nuevas Casas Grandes with a population of 50,000. So this is not a truly small town, at least no more than Town and Country where the St. Louis Temple is.

Nauvoo only had a population of 1,063 in 2000. Manti's population of 3,040 is significantly larger, and 2005 estimates put the population of Sanpete County where Manti is at 24,000. Monticello, Utah had a population of just under 2,000 people. San Juan County, Utah, has just over 14,000 people. Even at that Sanpete County has just under 1,600 square miles of area to San Juan County's over 7,000 square miles, so the population is way smaller.

Hancock County where Nauvoo is has just under 19,000 people according to 2007 Census estimates, but it also has under 800 square miles, so it is more densely populated than Sanpete County, Utah.

Snowflake has 5,000 people so in this realm it is big. It beats out the just under 4,000 who reside in Bloomfield Hills where the Detroit Temple is, but it is in a county with over 1 million people and largely surrounded by a township with 43,000 inhabitants, infact the temple itself is only a few hundred feet from the border with the township. Less than a quarter mile down Woodward, the main road the Detroit Temple is on, one comes to Birmingham, a city of almost 20,000 people in about five square miles. In fact Bloomfield Hills has more area than Birmingham, but since it is largely filled with large houses on good sized lots, as well as a large portion of the city covered by golf clubs or the Cranbrooke Schools, it does not have a very high population density.

Unknown said...

I am not sure what evidence Matt has that the Church has "phazed out the small temples". We still have one going good and strong here in Detroit, that is precisely 10,700 square feet. However, Monticello and Ancorage were originally built even smaller than that.

I am still totally clueless about what a tmeple score is. However, I do not think Matt's score has much validity. What you would have to know for it to mean anything would be the actual rate of temple attendance, the percentage of temple reccomend holders, and the percentage of full tithe payers (of whom temple reccomend holders would be a sub-set). I doubt Matt knows those facts.

Lastly, but not leastly, if statements by President Monson about the Church having the land to build the five temples he announced at last conference are true, than in some cases I would say people are forgetting that much work normally goes into selecting a temple site before plans are announced.
Personally I am expecting Virginia Beach and Charleston, West Virginia to be soon announced as sites for temples, but that is just my own opinion. I would love to see Indianapolis get a temple, but I am not holding my breath for that one, although with a new stake recently organized there the Church is on the rise, but it would call on people a lot more to cut the Louisville Temple District that small.

Lee A. Hona said...

Re: Small city temples

I had forgotten about Nauvoo and Monticello, I think either of those could qualify for smallest city w/a temple. Gila Valley would certain take the win if you consider the town it's in (Central, unincorporated), though nearby Pima (2,000) and Thatcher (4,000) are similar to Monticello and Manti in population give or take.

I think the comment about the phase out of the small (10K sq ft) temples referred to the possibility that they may not be *building* any more of this design, not that the ones currently in existence will be phased out.

We're likely to see more of the medium-sized plan temples I suspect. I refer to them as the "uniform 16K sq ft" temples, and you can see the basic design if you compare Columbia River, Lubbock, Redlands, Accra, San Antonio, Newport Bch, and Sacramento side-by-side. (Newport might fool you for a moment since the tower is so short compared to the others, but it is the same design.) This plan is attractive and seems to allow for increased patronage without the need to build an addition shortly after construction as happened with Anchorage.

Matt said...

The temple scores I have provided weight the likelihood of a temple on five different factors.

1. Distance from an existing temple. Every hundred miles away from the closest temple counts as two points.

2. Number of stakes and districts potentially served by the temple. Stakes count as one point each and districts are half a point.

3. Stakes created before 1980 (which typically indicate that the Church members have matured in the area to support a temple). Stakes created in the 1970s count for an additional two points, the 1960s for four points, the 1950s for six points, between 1900-1950 for eight points, and before 1900 for 10 points. If the city is within 50 miles of an existing temple I do not use this factor when ascertaining the temple score.

4. Saturday temple session schedule. This is useful in predicting future temples because it gives us an idea of how much members in the temple district go to the temple, regardless of the number of active, tithe paying-temple recommend holding members in the district. This part is calculated by if endowment sessions are oftered every 60-90 minutes (10 points) or less than 60 minutes (5 points).

5. Whether a mission of the Church is headquartered in the city. This is something I have added recently to this method after finding most of temples in the Church have a mission headquarted in the city. If a mission exists in the city, it an additional five points.

I hope that brings everyone up to date on the temple scores I provided. It is not a perfect system and suggestings for improvement are welcome. The system was developed by examining locations for which temples already exist in the Church. The Church does not provide information on the number of ordinances performed in each temple or the number of temple recommend holders in a temple district and these five measures are ways I try to make up for that.

Lastly, I made a comment about the small, 10,700 square foot temples being phased out of the Church. While we have 30 or so of these small temples (which usual serve less than 10 stakes), the last temple of comparable size to be dedicated was the Aba Nigeria Temple in 2005 (which was announced in 2000). The smallest temples we see dedicated today are no smaller than 15,000 square feet. It will be interesting to see if the Quetzaltenango Guatemala will exceed this square footage or will be smaller considering it will be a smaller temple.

Matt said...

I accidentally switched the scoring for the Saturday endowment session factor. It should be 10 points for sessions less than every 60 minutes and 5 points if sessions are offered every 60-90 minutes.

Matt said...

I am not purposing that the Church will discontinue usage of the small 10,700 square foot temples. Rather I am providing the observation that we do not see this temple design in temples which have been dedicated in the past couple years or that will soon be dedicated.

Again, thanks for all your comments! I am glad to see so much discussion on the topic.

Matthias said...

From Pittsbrgh to Columbus is a solid 3 hours, probably 3.5 to 4 by the time you get to the west side of town where the temple is.

Bookslinger said...

Indianapolis is 2 to 2.5 hours from the Louisville temple.

One reason that we (Indianapolis) won't get a temple soon is that the temples that surround us (Louisville, Columbus OH, Chicago) have low utilization. (And also consider Detroit, Nashville, St Louis, and Nauvoo if you add a couple hours of drive time.)

If we were to get a temple, we'd end up pulling or transfering members away from the other temple districts in order to create our own temple district.

So it's not enough that the city could justify it's own temple, the calculation needs to take into account the drawing-away effect on surrounding temple districts.

I'd guess that the surrounding temple districts would need 75% or better utilization throughout the week in order for there to be a new temple district created which would draw members out of the old one.

As baby-boomers start to retire now, there should be a bigger pool of retired temple-goers who can both staff and patronize temples throughout the week.

As far as I know, one of the factors to consider is not filling the sessions on Saturdays, but throughout the week.

If you want a temple for your city, organize car-pools for retired members to go do sessions mid-week at your assigned temple. I think the best way to "get" a new temple is to fill up the one you have now, and the next closest one too.

Matt said...

I agree with what you said. If many of these cities did have temples in them, they would draw away many of the members which support already existing temples. The Saturday Endowment Session factor I've used in the potential temple scoring does not take into account weekday temple attendance and therefore provides an incomplete picture. Perhaps we are several if not many years away from temples in many of these locations.

However in places like Lima, Peru or Recife, Brazil many members can only attend the temple of Saturdays because they live hundreds of miles away and have to work on the weekdays. At the same time members in both Lima and Recife use the temple well during the weekdays as manifest by the number of endowment sessions offered (which of course does not guarantee that they're all well attended). Nonetheless the opportunity is provided for a wide range of times to meet member's needs and scheduling. One of the things I have become very interested in since starting to study the growth of the Church has not just been where activity and growth is the strongest, but where and where not people have easily accessible opportunities to participate in Sunday Church meetings and Temple Worship. Sometimes having these blessings not too geographically close at hand can spur greater faith and devotion from the members in the area.

doug said...

Certainly in the top five (bottom five?) is Vernal, with a population of 7714 (2000 US Census).

Unknown said...

Based on Matt's temple score procedure, I am estimating that the Payson-Spanish Fork-Springville-Santaquin area of south Utah county, Utah, would score about 40 points, 30 points for stakes and perhaps 10 for timing of sessions.

Chad Curtis said...

Let me second Bookslinger's pointing out the problem with depending too much on Saturday attendance as a factor. I live in one of the cities listen in this top ten. We are just far enough away from the temple that it's not really feasible to do a weeknight session without taking the day off from work. 12 of the 14 stakes in our district are similarly situated.

Saturdays were a zoo. Often you'd get turned away at the door on a Saturday. Church Leadership from the outlying Stakes asked for more sessions on Saturday to make
more opportunties available but the Temple President was concerned His solution was to offer more weekday sessions and ask those for whom the trip was short to use the temple on weekdays and leave the weekends for those who had to travel.

So far so good I suppose. We're one of the few of the small temples where there are not only weeknight sessions but also regularly-scheduled weekday sessions. My understanding is that those sessions are very well attended.

Putting too much weight on Saturday sessions as an indicator misses all that. I don't know that I have an better solution (perhaps number of regularly scheduled sessions/week?) but I'm sure that our temple score would go up if a better indicator of capacity/usage were used.

Unknown said...

In defense of my warped sense of driving times to the Temple. In Indiana, I lived in Columbus, Indiana, which is south of Indianapolis, and most of the Indianapolis Stake is south of Indianapolis. As for my Pittsburgh, time, I live in the Washington, PA area. The Pittsburgh stake has a dilemma. Part of the stake is closer to the Columbus temple another part is closer to the Washington DC temple.
As for my Kirtland Temple comment, I was not serious about that. The Church has invested so much already in Church history sites in that area, that I think a temple in that area would be exciting.

CrispyDog said...

Forget the number crunching guys. Help the poor, the hungry, they homeless, the frail and exposed. The building program is important. But too many mormons are choking on the details of irrelevant numbers and not on the gospel of you know who!

Jeff said...

Update: the long-rumored Indianapolis Temple has finally been announced. No more nine-hour round trips to Chicago!!! :-D

Joni said...

Yay for the Indianapolis temple! My husband and I have discussed the possibility (with a lot of hope) many, may times over the last few years. There has been quite a bit of growth here in the last ten years - we've seen a new stake created and at least 3 or 4 wards established. For a long time we were split between multiple temple districts - Louisville, Columbus, and presumably Chicago up near South Bend. We moved about ten miles down the road and were switched from the Louisville temple district to Columbus, since our current stake boundaries extend to the Ohio state border even though we are on the north side of Indy. Mapquest says that Louisville is slightly closer than Columbus, but Columbus was the one that answered their phone the last time we went. ;)

It will be interesting to see what side of town the temple is built on. There does seem to be more membership on the north side, but I might be biased in saying that.

Jeff said...

I think it’s a foregone conclusion that it’ll be on the north or west side of Indy. The south side is about ninety minutes from Louisville, whereas the north side is four-to-seven–hour drive to Chicago, depending on traffic.

In terms of a specific location, this document might shed some light on the subject. 8.26 acres sounds a bit big for a stake center, donchathink? ;-)