Last night I started reading David Talbot’s Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love, which “recounts the gripping story of San Francisco in the turbulent years between 1967 and 1982…”
On the first page of the introduction, he writes, “Great cities have usually been founded by wealthy burghers and craftsmen…But San Francisco high society was a devil’s dinner party… By 1866, there were thirty-one saloons for every place of worship.”
I didn’t make it very far in this book yet (I will review it here when I am finished), but this was an interesting statistic, and it gave me the idea to make the following map.
The map above shows the number of bar establishments divided by the number of churches, measured at the county level.
More formally, using data from County Business Patterns for 2010, and I am looking at the ratio of the number of establishments in two industries, the first, NAICS code 813110, Religious Organizations, which includes churches, temples, monasteries, as well as establishments engaged in promoting religious activities. The second industry, NAICS code is 722410, Drinking Places, which is an industry comprised of establishments known as bars, taverns, nightclubs.
It is impossible to tell from the map, but in San Francisco there were 345 bars and only 283 religious organizations, meaning there still are “more bars than churches” in San Francisco (though the situation is nothing like it was in 1866!) San Francisco is the only county in California for which this is true.
Looking across the county, Nevada and states to its north clearly differ from states in the South! Some parts of the South have a higher bar to church ratio than others (e.g. New Orleans parish and surrounding areas), but most of the South has very low bar/church ratios.