The 25 Most Sinful Cities in America

Photo by Phillip B. Espinasse /

What does Las Vegas — Sin City — have in common with the Midwestern cities of St. Louis and Cincinnati?

They’re the most sinful cities in America, according to a WalletHub report released today.

The financial data site analyzed the nation’s 150 most populous cities based on 27 factors that it describes as “key indicators of evil deeds.” As WalletHub sums it up:

Our data set ranges from “violent crimes per capita” to “excessive drinking” to “potential cheaters.”

Each of the cities then received scores for categories — such as jealousy, avarice and vanity — and an overall score dubbed the WalletHub Vice Index score. All scores are out of 100 total points.

No. 1-ranked Las Vegas earned an overall score of 62.64. St. Louis and Cincinnati followed with 59 and 57.03, respectively.

The least sinful city of the 150 cities included in the analysis — San Jose, California — earned an overall score of 26.43.

WalletHub also asked academic experts to weigh in on what makes some cities more sinful that others. Is it a matter of their culture or laws, for example?

Brian Willoughby, an assistant professor of family studies at Brigham Young University, notes that one principle of psychology is that thoughts, values and attitudes often precede behaviors.

He goes on to explain:

So what would make certain cities or areas of the country more sinful? I would suggest it is the underlying cultural values that define the people that make up a given population. Different regions, urban vs. rural areas, and varying racial and ethnic backgrounds found across different metro areas give different cities different cultural values and, by extension, differing behavioral patterns that may or may not line up with the general cultural norms.

The top 25 most sinful cities are:

  1. Las Vegas
  2. St. Louis
  3. Cincinnati
  4. Orlando, Florida
  5. Springfield, Missouri
  6. Miami
  7. Richmond, Virginia
  8. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  9. Pittsburgh
  10. New Orleans
  11. Cleveland
  12. Tampa, Florida
  13. Knoxville, Tennessee
  14. Reno, Nevada
  15. Scottsdale, Arizona
  16. North Las Vegas, Nevada
  17. Akron, Ohio
  18. Toledo, Ohio
  19. Tacoma, Washington
  20. Shreveport, Louisiana
  21. Jackson, Mississippi
  22. Detroit
  23. Spokane, Washington
  24. Salt Lake City
  25. Little Rock, Arkansas

For the complete ranking of 150 cities and their scores, check out WalletHub’s report.

What score would you give your city for sinfulness? Let us know why in a comment below or on Facebook.

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