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The Top 20 Gayest Cities in the U.S.

The Top 20 Gayest Cities in the U.S.

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!

  1. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA
  2. Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA
  3. Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, ME
  4. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA
  5. Seattle, WA
  6. Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, CA
  7. Austin, TX
  8. Portland, OR
  9. San Diego, CA
  10. Springfield, MA
  11. New York-Northern NJ-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA
  12. Eugene, OR
  13. Denver-Aurora, CO
  14. Ithaca, NY
  15. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
  16. Columbus, OH
  17. Ann Arbor, MI
  18. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA
  19. Dallas, TX
  20. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL


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