Gary Gates, a demographer at UCLA’s Williams Institute, has been crunching some serious numbers and has given us the latest Gay/Lesbian Index rankings of the gayest metropolitan areas in the United States. The Gay/Lesbian Index is derived from data provided by cohabiting same-sex couples who responded to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey. The Index rankings are based on the proportion of same-sex couples among all households of a given metro area compared to the average for the entire U.S.
Coming as a surprise to no one, San Francisco ranked first as our nation’s gayest city. Possibly more surprising is that the gay population of San Francisco is predominantly male. 60% of the same-sex couples in the San Francisco are men. So where are the ladies? Massachusetts, apparently. Fourth-ranked Boston has the nation’s biggest lesbian community, with 60% of the same-sex couples in the Boston area being female. Even more of a lesbian enclave is across the state in Springfield, MA, where a whopping 82% of the same-sex couples are female.
California did well overall with five different metropolitan areas making the top twenty. What were the shockers? Columbus, OH, coming in at number sixteen! Despite being a Democratic-Republican battleground state, Ohio’s state capital made a place for itself on the list. But Columbus has long had a sizeable gay scene, with a gay men’s chorus and a huge annual gay-pride festival, so to the citizens of Columbus the ranking may not be a surprise at all.
Texas surprised us with two entries on the list: Austin at number seven and Dallas at number nineteen. Austin has been a liberal oasis in Texas for quite some time now, but a number seven ranking (above New York and L.A. even) is still significant. But Dallas?! Who knew!
What was the smallest city to make the list? Ithaca, New York, with a population of only 101,000 people. Gay families and individuals are making homes for themselves all over the nation, making the long-held belief that gay people only congregate in gay-borhoods in big cities on the East and West coasts less and less true every day.
Check out the complete list below. Do you live in a city with a sizeable gay community that didn’t make the cut? Tell us about it!
- San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA
- Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA
- Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, ME
- Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA
- Seattle, WA
- Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, CA
- Austin, TX
- Portland, OR
- San Diego, CA
- Springfield, MA
- New York-Northern NJ-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA
- Eugene, OR
- Denver-Aurora, CO
- Ithaca, NY
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
- Columbus, OH
- Ann Arbor, MI
- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA
- Dallas, TX
- Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL
Tags: Austin TX, Boston MA, Columbus OH, Dallas TX, Gay Cities, Gay Couples, Gay Mecca, Gay population, Gay/Lesbian Index, Gayest U.S. cities, Ithaca NY, San Francisco, Springfield MA, Williams Institute