The lighter side of real estate

Top Sinful Cities Outranking Las Vegas in America

Las Vegas, NV is the city of sin that was at the top, but now there are other 9 more who outranked LV in most sinful cities in America.

Randy Nelson

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The 10 Most Sinful Cities in America

Move over, Las Vegas, NV—there’s a new capital of sin in America. Oh, you’re still pretty bad, but it turns out that St. Louis, MO has you beat when it comes to the big seven: Pride, lust, greed, wrath, envy, gluttony, and sloth.

Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “What’re those crazy Movoto bloggers up to this time?” Well, you see, we’ve just been asking ourselves some of the big questions again. You know, like how many Tribbles would it take to fill your house or how a Pokémon lives. Or, in this case, what the real Sin City is.

Everyone knows that Las Vegas has made a name for itself—and attracts nearly 40 million visitors a year—by being a bastion of “sinful” activities: adult entertainment, gambling, drinking, and general debauchery. But what about the real sins? The ones in the Good Book. The ones in the movie “Seven?” We thought it would be fun to figure out which cities are making names for themselves in those (mainly less fun) moral offenses.

We’ve already told you which one claimed the tarnished crown; here’s the full list of the 10 most sinful cities in America:

1. St. Louis, MO
2. Orlando, FL
3. Minneapolis, MN
4. Pittsburgh, PA
5. Milwaukee, WI
6. Cincinnati, OH
7. Miami, FL
8. Buffalo, NY
9. Detroit, MI
10. Las Vegas, NV

See—Las Vegas is still on there. But nine other big cities proved to be more sinful based on Biblical criteria. Read on to find out how we reached our conclusions, and why living in these cities is a bit like a real life Dante’s “Inferno.”

How’d We Come Up With Our List?

Unlike most of the city rankings we’ve already done, we already had some criteria set out for us coming in, namely the Seven Deadly Sins themselves. However, one can’t simply find statistics on things like “prevalence of lust” and “occurrences of wrath”—well, actually you can, but you have to get creative. Luckily we’re sort of known for that around here.

So, in order to make this ranking, we had to translate the sins into some criteria that makes sense for modern city living. That’s how we came up with the seven we ended up using:

  • Strip clubs per capita (Lust)
  • Cosmetic surgeons per capita (Pride)
  • Violent crime per year per 1,000 residents (Wrath)
  • Theft per year per 1,000 residents (Envy)
  • Percentage of disposable income given to charity each year (Greed)
  • Percentage of obese residents (Gluttony)
  • Percentage of physically inactive residents (Sloth)

With those figured out, we looked at the 95 most populous cities in the United States (we had to exclude Baton Rouge, Birmingham, Indianapolis, Toledo, and Tucson since they don’t report some of this data) to see how they stacked up in each criterion. We ranked each city from 1 to 95—with 1 being most sinful and 95 being least—and averaged the scores across all criteria to come up with our final list of 10 most sinful locales.

Keep reading to find out why we chose each criterion to represent its corresponding sin and which cities most embodied that particular moral failing.

Lust: Where Vegas Still Reigns Supreme

Las Vegas - Sinful City in America

Source: Flickr user Tiger Girl

Ah, lust. Of all the deadly sins, this is the one most people seem to have little difficulty getting behind. We suppose that’s because being seen as a perv is slightly less unappealing than people thinking you’re a jerk, a bully, or a slob? Anyway, to gauge the lustfulness of our cities, we went with the old standard: strip clubs. We used Yelp to figured out how many of these adult entertainment hubs exist in each city, then divided that number by the population to get how many there are per capita.

Unsurprisingly, Las Vegas ranked first. Specifically, North Las Vegas, NV did, with one strip club for every 2,808 residents. Las Vegas, NV proper came in second at one for every 3,406 people. Another desert city, Scottsdale, AZ, ranked third with one strip club for every 4,511 residents.

Pride: Where Your Looks are What Matter Most

Pride was one of the trickier criteria to decide on, since it can have a variety of meanings. What we eventually landed on has to do with the fact that the sin of pride has also been called the sin of vanity. With that in mind, we went with the number of cosmetic surgeons each city has, seeing as few things say you take a lot (or too much) pride in yourself than having your appearance surgically altered.

According to Yelp, Scottsdale, AZ has the most cosmetic surgeons per capita with one for every 1,812 people. Irvine, CA was a close second with one for every 1,827 residents. Anaheim, CA—also in Southern California—has one plastic surgeon for every 2,246 people who live in the city.

Wrath: When Things Get Violent

Unlike pride, wrath is pretty easy to equate to things that happen in a city. For this criterion we went with reports of violent crimes as cataloged by the FBI. Specifically, we looked at combined incidents of murder (and nonnegligent manslaughter), robbery, aggravated assault, and forcible rape for our most populous cities on a per year per 1,000 residents basis. We can’t say the “winner” surprised us much, unfortunately.

The dubious distinction of most wrathful city went to Detroit, MI, with 24 violent crimes per year per 1,000 residents. St. Louis, MO was second with 20, while Memphis, TN was tied with Oakland, CA in third with 16 apiece.

Envy: When You Want What Isn’t Yours


Source: Flickr user Twanda Baker

If you’re extremely envious of what others have, you want it for your own. That’s how we thought about this sin, which led to us selecting incidents of theft—again gathered by the FBI—as our representative criterion. Like violent crimes, these were viewed on a per year and per 1,000 resident basis. We looked at combined incidents of burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. The top ranked city in this category kind of threw us off guard (then stole our wallet).

Where’s your stuff most likely to get stolen? Honolulu, HI. The island paradise sees 76 reported thefts per year per 1,000 residents. That’s 11 more than St. Louis, which has 65. Atlanta, GA rounded out the list of cities where the crooks have sticky fingers with 53 thefts every year per 1,000 people.

Greed: When Giving Back Isn’t a Consideration

When thinking about greed as a sin, we initially started looking at things like personal wealth, but we decided that was a little unfair. So, we turned to charity—specifically, the percentage of disposable income each city gives to charity on a yearly basis, from’s research into “How America Gives.”

Laredo, TX turned out to be the most stingy, giving only 2.8 percent of disposable income to charity each year. Fremont, CA gives 3.2 percent, with Reno, NV only slightly better at 3.3 percent. (Detroit was tops, giving a whopping 11.2 percent.)

Gluttony: Where Eating Never Ceases

While overeating is just one of several contributors to obesity, being overweight is still most commonly caused by the overconsumption of food (and lack of physical activity, which we’ll get to in a sec). With that in mind, we looked at the percentage of residents in each city classified as obese by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an indicator for this sin.

Detroit landed another, er, “win” here, with 34 percent of its residents classified as obese. Tulsa, OK nearly tied at 33.9 percent, while Memphis was a close third at 33.8 percent.

Sloth: When Getting Off Your Keister’s a Chore

For our final sin, sloth, we probably couldn’t have asked for a better criteria than the number of people who aren’t meeting government physical activity guidelines. Like our data on obesity, this information came straight from the CDC.

Tulsa came out on top here (after struggling to get off the couch) with 32.4 percent of its residents labeled “inactive.” Minneapolis, MN was second at 30 percent, while St. Louis, MO and Orlando, FL tied in third at 28.8 percent.

Where Sin is In

To be clear: We’re not saying you’re a bad person if you live in one of the cities on our latest Kind of a Big Deal List—but there’s definitely some Old Testament-level sinful stuff going on around you. Or, hey, maybe you’re reading this post in a strip club right now. In which case, we hope you’re tipping big and keeping your hands to yourself, you perv.

Thumbnail image source: Flickr user Skinny Lawyer

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posted on: June 13, 2013
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  1. shawn

    We’re #1!

    • Gina in response to shawn

      I wish they’d stop using EAST St. Louis crimes in St. Louis’ crime stats. It’s NOT part of St. Louis. It’s not even in the same STATE, for heaven’s sake!

  2. JBunny

    Seriously? If you are going to use crime data limited to the City of St. Louis, then limit the rest of your study to the City limits. There are NO strip clubs in St. Louis City. You have to go over the River to East St. Louis for those. Which is in Illinois. Not the same city. Or, use crime stats for the whole region, thus including my suburb, where no one can remember the last murder. Piss poor research with potential to harm the areas you listed. I suggest a better journalism school. In fact, the one at University of Missouri, Columbia, is one of the best in the United States. I am sure you can find your way there without having to stain yourselves by driving through St. Louis, thus leaving more flat pizza and gooey butter cake for me.

    • Bryan in response to JBunny

      Slimy process cheese pizza, and nasty gooey “butter” cake, that’s pretty much always made with margarine? You can have my share. But even those aren’t the worst St. Louis specialty. That dishonor belongs to the St. Paul Sandwich.

      • Tom in response to Bryan

        What the heck is a St. Paul sandwich? Lived here almost all my life and have never heard of that.

        • TS in response to Tom

          You’ve lived in STL your whole life and never had a St. Paul sandwich? Go to any Chinese food place and order up a slice of that pungent heaven.

          • Corey in response to TS

            Ah, because St. Louis is so rich in it’s… er.. Chinese tradition? I too have lived here my whole life and never heard of a St. Paul sandwich; sounds like a dirty sex position…

      • Darren in response to Bryan

        I guess everything’s a matter of taste to some extent and granted there are some nasty versions of the St. Paul sandwich out there but when it’s made well with fresh ingredients that is one tasty sandwich. (For those who don’t know it’s an egg foo yung sandwich with a choice of meat, usually pork, ham, duck, shrimp etc. or vegetarian, with iceberg lettuce, tomato and pickle slices on wonder-style white bread with mayo or thousand island dressing. Noone knows where the name comes from but it’s only found in Chinese restaurants in and around the city of St. Louis.) Everybody should try one at least once if you’re around St. Louis.

    • Chris Kolmar in response to JBunny

      Hey Guys,
      Strip clubs were one of seven criteria we looked at. We took the number from Yelp with this query:
      And St. Louis ended up in the bottom quarter on the strip club ranking.

      St. Louis ranked highly for envy, wrath, and sloth.

      • Mandy in response to Chris Kolmar

        St. Louis is one of the only cities in the country that is specifically landlocked from its county. Meaning, when you look at crime statistics for St. Louis, the suburbs are excluded whereas most other cities include them. I’m thinking that would take us down quite a bit for both your envy and wrath.

        • Chris Kolmar in response to Mandy

          Please check out our methodology which we linked to several times:

          We try to only look at cities, not MSAs. We try not to include suburbs.

          Our data is from the FBI, but other sources also show St. Louis to have a rather high crime rate:

          • Lucas in response to Chris Kolmar

            There are no strip clubs in the city limits of St Louis. They are in STL County and East St Louis which is in IL.

            You aren’t living up to your own methodology.

            STL is also weird in that large amounts of the inner suburbs have “St Louis” mailing addresses, including places as far as 10 miles from the city limits. It does this because of the issues raised above. You are counting areas as negatives, but not as positives.

          • Drew in response to Chris Kolmar

            That completely misses Mandy’s point.

          • A. in response to Chris Kolmar

            Did you happen to notice, when you were tabulating all your stats, that St. Louis has not 10, not 5, not even ONE strip club? Heck, there’s not even ONE strip club anywhere in the country, lol. All of ’em are in Illinois, which, as you clearly are unaware, is an entirely different state. As in … NOT St. Louis and definitely not Missouri. Just because East St. Louis sounds a lil’ like St. Louis doesn’t mean it’s the same darn city.

            If you are so wrong on that point, I have precious little faith in your ability to create any reasonable “methodology.”

      • Mark Brown in response to Chris Kolmar

        Most of the strip clubs in that link are in Illinois (Metro East) – not St. Louis, Missouri.

      • randomreader in response to Chris Kolmar

        Per the how you reached conclusions link, “The goal is to spark a discussion about a city”, you certainly seemed to accomplish that.

        I’m a St. Louis city resident, and it’s one messed up city for sure. But, as some comments have already said, there are no strip clubs here. I’ve looked all over for some, too…. You used Yelp? hahahaha… You guys are just dorks.

      • John in response to Chris Kolmar

        I hope St. Louis didn’t just rank in the ‘bottom quarter’ on the strip club list. The Yelp list you link to provides 0 strip clubs in St. Louis City. (The only ones it lists are located in Illinois.)

        Yes, it lists escort services. But your description of Lust doesn’t include escort services.

      • Ryan in response to Chris Kolmar

        Hey, guy.

        Lola Von Ella is a burlesque dancer, doesn’t go nude. The other Yelp listings appear to be for private dancers using STL addresses. ALL of the clubs are in IL. So, bottom 25%? Does that mean 25% of the cities you considered have ZERO strip clubs then?

        • Joe in response to Ryan

          That doesn’t mean that, it just means that they if you ranked all cities in order from most strip clubs to least, STL would fall in the bottom 25%. Doesn’t mean they are tied with everyone in that quartile.

      • David Glenn Cox in response to Chris Kolmar

        Yelp survey? Why not just ask someone at the mall?

      • Damien in response to Chris Kolmar

        lol how did orlando end up on this list? you should have posted the complete numbers for each category… Orlando is listed as 2nd and only is mentioned ONCE in the article…followed immediately by a typo… you cant even proof read this crap?

    • Jay Dub in response to JBunny

      Exactly! This makes no sense. Well, quite frankly, this hole topic is ridiculous and is NOT social research. In the case of St. Louis, how does it end up number one when there are not any strip clubs in the city and is ranked as one of the top five in charitable donations. It appears they used some data for the city only (charitable donations and crime) then used metro data when they could not find strip clubs. Piss poor and irresponsible.

    • Jack Duncan in response to JBunny

      Was surprised to see St. Louis ranked No. 1 and enjoyed your response. A longtime friend from Centralia agrees all of the ghettos are on the Illinois side. Missouri was respected for its journalism 40 years ago when I was in j-school at Oklahoma, and apparently nothing has changed in Columbia.

    • Rob in response to JBunny

      Just want to ditto this. The media still haven’t learned that St. Louis city and St. Louis county are separate entities with separate data and the city of St. Louis is a small portion of the total population. The data they use is skewed so far in one direction it makes the media look stupid.

      Well, using the wrong data DOES make them stupid.

  3. Brent

    The photo for Milwaukee is actually one of the Milwaukee Makerspace members riding a Custom Powerwheels race car. It was hand built after hours for inclusion on the national powerwheels racing circuit. The Milwaukee Makerspace works to educate the public, teach skills and foster creativity and innovation. Not quite true to the lazy and slightly insulting caption you posted.

    • Chris Kolmar in response to Brent

      We knew it was of the Makerspace folks, it’s just being used as a funny example of what people will do to not walk. 🙂

  4. John

    You all take offense to these things easily. I’m from St. Louis and have been linking this page to friends and family as bragging. We’re the most sinful! Whoo!

    In your face, Vegas!

    • Caitlin in response to John

      Haha! I agree with John. I’ve lived in st. Louis my whole life. It’s an ok city, lol i think it’s hilarious we beat sin city! But seriously the weather is pretty fucked here, most of the people are fat, our public school systems are ok at best and most job opportunities are also mediocre. Duh were the most shitty. There’s few things that r actually worth while here. Travel a little around the country, most city’s are naturally more motivating like LA, Denver, Chicago, new York, Raleigh n.c., Naples, San Diego. List goes on.

      • Allison in response to Caitlin

        Please feel free to move out of St. Louis. I am sure its negative people like you that bring St. Louis down. I am sure you would fit in great in L. A.

      • Cate in response to Caitlin

        First of all, to Caitlin, I am not at all surprised that you find limited employment opportunities in St. Louis when your command of English seems limited to the use of vulgarities to express yourself.

        I agree with many responders that the methodology used is questionable. If you use the “City” for some date and the greater “Metro” area for other data your results will be inherently flawed.

        SLOTH… by another name is a lazy blogger with skewed research.

      • Mike in response to Caitlin

        You don’t get out much in the STL, do you Caitlin?

  5. BrantH

    Interesting choice for Milwaukee considering that guy designed and built the bike he’s riding in the parade. It’s as irrelevant as if you used a picture of Shriners driving around in go-karts for sloth.

  6. Gary Brown

    As one who takes the Bible seriously (that DOES NOT mean I’m without sin – quite the contrary unfortunately), I’m impressed at your decisions on the statistical data you used. Pride might need some tweaking as cosmetic surgeons seems much too narrow.

    But you did two things right: you used the right source and you actually gave this some serious thought and effort.

    I think the results are useful and I hope you will further tweak your methodology. Well done.

  7. Jessica

    I love how whenever one of these types of stories come out, the Saint Louis apologists get all up in arms trying to defend the city and use the city/county argument to fudge the numbers. Never once do I hear anyone (including those in power around here) say, “Hmmm, we keep coming up on all of these negative lists. Maybe we should do something about it and actually clean up this city.” Nope, it’s all about massaging the numbers and making excuses.

    I live in Saint Louis and I can tell you that it belongs on the top of all of these lists. This place is awful. High crime, racism, unfriendly people, dirty, corrupt, terrible schools, etc. It’s all adds up to this being one of the worst cities in the country.

    • Mark Brown in response to Jessica

      Jessica, it’s highly likely you don’t live in St. Louis proper anyway. You are the kind of suburban outlier who lives out in suburban Chesterfield or O’Fallon (Missouri) and never really visit the St. Louis proper – except for baseball games. And if you live in the city – you should move. BILLIONS have been spent rebuilding our great city – and if you cannot join the synergy – you and your bad energy should leave. LEAVE! You are a part of the problem and not the solution. BYE!

      • Jessica in response to Mark Brown

        Mark, you couldn’t be more wrong. I live in the CWE. Nice try, though. And I am not a baseball fan so I don’t attend the games, not that that has anything to do with anything. Trust me, my family and I are moving away from this rat trap next month and couldn’t be happier. You sound like all Saint Louisians… “You don’t like it? Then leave.” And that’s what everyone has been doing for the past 50 years. The population has been streaming out of this crummy town and will continue to until there is nothing left but the dealers and junkies. As far as billions being spent on improving the city? Really? Where did it all go? I don’t see where anything has been done to clean this town up. You mean the constant construction on all of the major highways? Seems like a lot of money is being dumped into that and that alone. But actually cleaning up the city itself? Doesn’t look like a dime has been spent. So yeah, see you! On to greener pastures. You can have your dump of a city. Enjoy!

        • Charles in response to Jessica

          See Jess – won’t miss ya.

        • Mike in response to Jessica

          Actually, Jessica, even though the 2010 Census shows the STL losing more population, graphing it shows that the decline is beginning to stabilize. As for the City being a “dump”, I think you’ve not really explored the City in which you reside. Frankly, you sound like a rather incurious person. No city is perfect, least of all STL, but I’ll take St. Louis over many cities I’ve visited. But, then again, I loves me some St. Louis brick vernacular.

    • Jeff in response to Jessica

      Then move!

    • A. in response to Jessica

      Meh. I’m a transplant (military, actually) and of all the places I’ve lived, St. Louis ranks at the top. Oh, sure, it has its warts. It’s got undeniably unsafe areas, and we have a long way to go when it comes to racism. But St. Louis in general is not a bad little city. What we mostly have is a self-esteem problem.

      But not everyone agrees with you that St. Louis is a hopeless disaster, and, like this author, I cannot imagine a better place to rear my children.

  8. SP08

    Obesity doesn’t necessarily mean gluttony is an issue. PLUS if you look up the definition of a glutton in the biblical sense, you will see it has little to do with the over-consumption of food (though it can be part of it) and more to do with OVERINDULGENCE in all things, like expensive gadgets, clothing, shoes, illicit sexual activity etc. Capitalism is all about gluttony.

  9. stl Jim

    Even if there are no strip clubs in STL, we still carry the lust category due to our high rankings in STDs.

    In 2011, STL was second in STDs.

  10. Dao

    Minneapolis has been listed in numerous publications (Shape, Men’s Fitness, Huffington Post, etc) as one of the MOST fit cities in the U.S. I mean, it does snow here nearly 6 months a year, so that can lead to some “inactivity,” but we still end up as one of the most active cities because we get outside, snow or sun. So, where is the 30% inactive statistic coming from?

    • Randy Nelson in response to Dao

      As mentioned in the article, the data on obesity and inactivity was provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It deals with the percentage of residents who are / are not meeting activity guidelines established by the federal government.

      • Joe in response to Randy Nelson

        I looked up the CDC’s study on inactivity rates. The most recent study I could find was from 2008 and it was at the county level. Still, every county in MN including Hennepin County (which includes Minneapolis) was in the lowest range of inactivity rates (<23.1%). This isn't at the city level, so Minneapolis' rate could be higher, but it is unlikely based on numerous other studies that say just the opposite and the broader trend that inactivity rates are FAR higher in the southeast part of the country. Please show me a link to where this data is from.

  11. Kahuna

    The Gateway Arch… where else but sin city St. Louis would you find a 50 year old pair of legs that over one million visitors pass between every year…

  12. Jones

    Whoever wrote this has never been to st Louis. There are no strip clubs here!!

  13. Jason

    It’s a shame that the article referenced for the charity giving included people giving to their churches as charity. The reality is most of that money goes towards paying the pastor, sometimes paying for the house they live in, the church building and it’s bills, and even other church expenses.

    Do you have an individual breakdown for each category you could post?

    • Tim in response to Jason

      And money given to other charities never hoes toward salaries right? As someone who works in the non-profit sector, this is a joke. All charitable giving, is just that. Everyone gives to their pet projects. Why should those who give to religious institutions not be counted?

  14. Aaaammba

    and…the previous commenters are right, there are no strip clubs in St. Louis City…

    However, the important point you are missing is that if this “list” would have included the towns the strip clubs are located in (Alorton, East St. Louis, and Sauget…but really i think they ALL technically exist within Sauget’s city limits) it would not have helped push St. Louis down the rankings AT ALL….instead, the incredibly small resident populations and extremely high crime rates in these towns would only further solidify St. Louis’ top ranking position…

    • No Clubs in STL in response to Aaaammba

      There are actually only 2 I know of in Sauget. However, many others still rent property from the Sauget family.

      • Aaaaammba in response to No Clubs in STL

        pt’s, crystal palace, boxers and briefs aaand then of course the “massage” parlors are all in sauget… i think hollywood or hustler whatever the one is called right off the interstate…i think that one is considered e. st. louis. But i can’t think of any others…is that all of them in st. claire county?

  15. Aaaaammba

    I, too, am from St. Louis, but have been living in Chicago for the last year. I am always arguing that the city/county issue skews “per capita” and “rate” based statistics because it is does! …and its an absolutely relevant point that explains how st. Louis continuously makes it on these type of lists! St. Louis would not make the cut for most of these lists if it wasnt for the type of logistical/methodological impairments mentioned above. However, I like this list…as it is a light hearted and creative way to look at u.s. cities!

    Worth mentioning, however, is my frustration with the fact that Chicago never makes ANY of these lists…whether they be for entertainment purposes or bold political statements….the lists NEVER include Chicago??? Again the population rates and the geographical boundaries considered skew statistics and falsely illustrate the I am not all that surprised, but definitely frustrated. As a teacher in Chicago public school system and a resident of the city, I can assure you that residents of Chicago are at far greater risk of falling victim to violent crime than those in St. Louis…particularly if an actuary perspective is taken into account and analyzes risk according to specific regions. Because, high crime rates concentrated in specific areas, are often statistically diluted by per capita figures since they include humans that never step foot out of their padded crime free “yuppy” neighborhoods. I live in a “good” neighborhood on the north side of the city, literally a stones throw from Lake Shore Drive, and just this week there have been at least 4 shootings within a 2 block radius of my home. The most recent event occurred Monday afternoon around 3:30pm. I had driven about 1/2 a block after dropping my 6yr old daughter off at her after school program, when a lovely human popped out of a van and sprayed the parking lot across the street from the after school center with a semi-automatic…spewing around 25 bullets and striking two rival gang members. The one-and likely only-positive light of this situation is that almost ALL gun violence up here is targeted crime among gang members. When i consider the shooting incident on Cherokee St that happened in St. Louis today, perhaps I am safer dodging targeted bullets in Chicago (even if they do occur more often), than I would be trying to evade random and/or rash events of evil like that illustrated in St. Louis this afternoon. Its a tough tough world out there folks….love your children, and teach them how to love themselves and each other!

  16. Pgh Not Charitable?

    Pittsburgh is not charitable? Say what now? Instead of tracking individual giving, try tracking the foundations here that give more money away than any other city per capita than San Francisco. You can even go to Foundation Center, which already does it for you. You have no idea how ridiculous your ranking looks to people who live and work in the nonprofit sector. I committed at least one deadly sin by clicking on your article.

  17. Daddo

    I don’t think it’s “unfair” at all to include personal wealth, which certainly is a measure of greed, or perhaps to look at poverty rates or gap between the top and bottom. People can give to charity (or, frequently, to groups that promote a mindset they like but don’t actually help those in need) and still promote a society based upon greed and inequality. By the same token, a person who doesn’t have much may not give a lot to “charity” but might volunteer a great deal in ways that actually DO help people AND work to try to establish a more just and equitable society. I know a number of folks in St. Louis doing this kind of work, and unlike the rest of the state St. Louis voters tend to support a political approach less based in greed. But if (like on the strip club thing) you include the suburbs, well…uh, oh. And Bryan’s dead wrong, there’s NOTHING like a good gooey St. Louis style pizza, Imo’s is the best! And while the reputation’s not there to the level of KC or Memphis, St. Louis has some darn fine barbeque including being the home of that great STL delicacy, the pork steak. Mmmm….
    Of course the whole thing’s a little silly, I never thought of lust as being especially sinful, so long as it’s not directed in a way harmful to others. Sloth either. Greed obviously is, but envy? Again, so long as you’re not harming others physically, that’s way down on the list of sins. Violent crime is obviously a massive problem in St. Louis, as it is anywhere that there’s a great deal of poverty. There’s that greed thing, again, it’s the root of all evil, as someone once noted.

  18. Charles

    I’m a lifelong St. Louisian – I’ve lived close to farty-far like a bunch of youse guys my whole life. I love St. Louis and all of it’s amenities. For you haters out there – who cares? Don’t like the Lou – leave. Sure, there are downsides to living here. Where is there not?

    I’m not an apologist for the city and I don’t care who likes our town and who doesn’t. We’ve got a lot to offer. There is significant violence in some parts of the city. Other places you can probably leave your doors unlocked at night – if you’re really brave. Are we midwesterners – of course. If you’ve lived in Manhattan, LA, Seattle, Denver, or Chicago – will you like it here? Perhaps not. Who cares? St. Paul sandwiches? If you think that’s a St. Louis staple then you should you’re probably smoking too much crack.

    Go cards!!

    • Mike in response to Charles

      It’s a shame that scarcely anyone in the City serves a brain sandwich anymore. Now that was a St. Louis staple.

  19. Charles

    pardon my typos and poor punctuation…

  20. Clint

    First, I’ll agree that my fellow St. Louisans probably need to relax; this is a list on a blog that is unlikely to arouse any excitement outside of the ten cities on the list, so don’t consider your city infamous.
    Second, though, I think your methods, though cited, do reveal where an unnatural portrayal of St. Louis may arise: St. Louis, the city, has some good neighborhoods but also large areas that have hollowed out, leaving only poor people and criminals (the city’s population is less than 1/3 of its peak, sitting at about 320,000), and its per capita crime rate is multiple times higher than the surrounding metro area that includes another 2.8 million people. As you can imagine, the other 2.8 million people bristle a bit when that high local crime rate gets extrapolated out to them.
    Meanwhile, there are about 100 or so little towns in St. Louis county and in Illinois (possibly even a couple of other counties in Missouri, but who’s counting?) where businesses like plastic surgeons and strip clubs may exist but, in an attempt to draw a regional clientele, they claim themselves as part of St. Louis, not the tiny little town in which they actually exist. My question on those is, did you do a per capita rate off of the 320,000 people in St. Louis or the 3.2 million in the metro area?
    As far as a discussion, I think St. Louis has its share of sin; maybe not the most in the nation, but plenty. It’s very polarized though, such that the criminals, the lust purveyors, the vain and the obese / slothful are mostly different people in different areas, but they all certainly exist.

  21. ARMcR

    Comparing Saint Louis City with other cities is flawed, because the “City” of Saint Louis is uniquely not in a county. Thus, its demographics represent an “urban core”; in other cities, the urban core is surrounded by more affluent areas, also within the city limits. However, the areas surrounding the Saint Louis urban core are not in the city!

    The numbers are always going to be skewed, and there is nothing that any of us can do about it. WE know Saint Louis is a wonderful place to live, with countless, first-class cultural institutions, in addition to our first-class baseball team, thousands of lovingly preserved historic structures, and a superb library system, all of which top “real” lists.

    Shoddy “reporting” like this dumb blog are purported to be based on “scientific” research. Really? It reminds me more of junior high bullies who take great pleasure in humiliating people just because they can.

  22. Matt

    St Louis City has taxes that the counties don’t. Anyone with half of an a financial brain understands you get more out of living in the county. With many people being established in the counties, taxpayers are fewer in StL City, therefore schools become run-down like they have and consolidate. St Louis City does have some really nice areas around St Francis Park and the Hill, those are some of the most sought after homes even compared to most of the area counties.

    You can attribute most of those bad crime rates to North St Louis, where many gangs call their homes. The police haven’t been able to get a handle on it for years. So, yeah this article seems pretty inaccurate since it is rating acts of crime per capita. St Louis City itself has a small population but is widely spread out. The crime ridden areas are mostly contained by highways 40 and 44. When you go out for frozen custard or visit the Zoo or beautiful Botanical Gardens, or up in the Arch looking down, or taking your kids to the Science Center, or jogging in Forest Park, or taking a brewery tour of Schlafly during the day and wonder where the hell the crowds came from, you need to be reminded that they all swooped in from Chesterfield, South County, Fenton, Webster Groves, etc and swooped out by 7pm ct.

    Try looking into it Chris Kolmar.

  23. Clint

    I did some quick research myself and confirmed a couple of things. First, determination of the extent to which a city is representative of its metro area is really difficult and probably inherently imprecise. Second, among the 80 largest cities in 2010, St. Louis (11.0%) ranked seventh from the bottom as a percentage of its metro area. Of course, this comes with some caveats: I used wikipedia’s MSAs as well as I could, but some of the MSAs themselves are tough to choose (San Jose is part of the San Jose – San Francisco – Oakland MSA, but San Francisco and Oakland have their own as part of that) so I backed out explicitly available MSAs as well as I could; where an MSA has multiple cities represented, I made an assumption that each city influences the metro area in proportion to its own population, even though larger cities probably exert a disproportionate influence in reality.
    It is worth noting that the cities below St Louis are diverse themselves: Washington, DC; Orlando; Boston; Riverside, CA; Atlanta; Miami (6.5%). At the other end of the spectrum, Lincoln NE came in at the top with 79.6% of its MSA, and another 7 cities accounted more than 60% of their respective MSAs.
    In short, representation is difficult to account for and has little bearing on livability. St. Louis has its problems but seems an unlikely candidate as the most sinful city in the US. If I were the publisher, given the dubious limitations of available research, I’d probably skip the story.

  24. Brooks

    It’s interesting reading peoples’ rants about how awful this little blog post is. They’re so quick to point out its shortcomings. People, it’s not a dissertation or doc study! Although, it’s definitely peer reviewed, now. Really I could care less about anything biblical, but I suggest this, take it with a grain of salt and enjoy it for what it is—a funny little blog post that’s rather quite original.

  25. StlMomma

    I think the point most of us are making, is that the research these guys did is terrible. “Yelp” is not a research tool. It’s obvious the author does not know the particulars of the city/county. To say StL is higher than Vegas in “Sinful” behavior is comical and I laughed at this. Even if it was tongue in cheek, we don’t appreciate it. We’re tired of other cities dumping on us. So what’s the saying, “He without sin, cast the first stone.”

  26. annette

    I’m not concerned abut what it says about the individual cities. Yes, every city has it’s problems with the 7 deadly sins. I am more concerned over what it implies about the country as a whole. What used to stay in Vegas has branched out dramatically. We to become aware of what these 7 deadly sins are doing to the country! Wake up America! Times have changed and we need to stomp out the 7 deadly sins!

  27. Jeff

    I highly doubt Anaheim has the third most cosmetic surgeons per capita. I think you lumped the fake Disney characters in that percentage. Irvine, in second, is a little questionable too. Newport/Laguna and Beverly Hills/Los Angeles is more believable.

  28. Scott

    Hahah, hilarious that Pittsburgh is #4 and Philadelphia didn’t even make the list. I can’t remember the last time I felt unsafe walking around the streets of P-burgh compared to when I visit family in Philly… I constantly feel like I’m gonna get mugged there. Not to mention people in Pitt are generally very friendly, while Philly is 90% jerks… (sorry to those Philadelph-ites that aren’t jerks) This is coming from someone who didn’t grow up in Pittsburgh either, so it’s not like I have a typical yinzer bias… (I’m not a Steelers fan, just fyi)

  29. SP

    No such thing as sin. Only idiots who use that word to get rich themselves.

  30. Edwincali

    Orlando in second? I thought that was the Mickey Mouse land the happies place on earth. I guess the mouse is naughty and greedy.


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