The 35 most LGBT-friendly U.S. Cities, according to Vocativ’s ‘Queer Index’

The 35 most LGBT-friendly U.S. Cities, according to Vocativ’s ‘Queer Index’


Which U.S. city is most friendly toward LGBT residents? Which big cities don’t even make the list? What’s the gayest city in “red state” America? Which metro area has the highest percentage of out politicians? Where do same-sex Craigslist hookups happen most frequently?

Vocativ, a global media organization for the “digital generation,” claims it has the answers in its first-ever data survey of the LGBT community nationwide — the Queer Index — which goes live today.

The Queer Index is a rich analysis of dozens of quality-of-life factors for America’s LGBT communities in 100 U.S. cities, based on Vocativ’s proprietary technology that mines the deep web—the 80 percent of the Internet outside the scope of search engines.

According to the Index, Los Angeles is the top city in the country for LGBTs, followed in order by New York, San Francisco, Des Moines, Iowa, and Chicago.

The Index sources 32 publicly available data sets to analyze 16 key lifestyle metrics. It weighs variables that reflect and influence how and where LGBT Americans live, work, play, party, fall in love and raise families.

Specific factors explored include the size of cities’ LGBT communities, number of out singles, queer-friendly businesses, hate-crime rates and even the ease of casual hookups.

“For Pride Month, we wanted to create a useful, fun guide to LGBT life across the country,” said Scott Cohen, CEO of Vocativ.

“We started off with a simple premise: What’s life really like for the queer community. From there we homed in on the community’s passions, concerns and daily realities—and then we started collecting the data. Diving into the numbers, we learned new things about known LGBT meccas. For example, New York City has the most hate groups in the country. We also found countless surprises. Who knew that Memphis has the most single lesbians per capita in the country?”

Said Mati Kochavi, founder of Vocativ:

“To get a snapshot of LGBT life across the country, the traditional approach would be to collect the opinions of a few so-called experts. But big data and the deep web allow Vocativ to go infinitely broader, into a world free of spin and full of hidden truths, where stories reveal themselves.

“The Queer Index shows just how fast LGBT rights and public opinion about that community are changing—and not just in big metro areas, but also increasingly in smaller cities throughout the country.”

Vocativ’s web technology and analysts surveyed information from across the deep web, open databases, public sites and social networks, including Craigslist, Facebook, Yelp, Rentboy, the U.S. census and the FBI crimes database, among others.

A few interesting highlights unearthed by the Index include:

  • The Washington, D.C., metro area has the highest percentage of out adults. At the same time, the nation’s capital has the highest number of anti-LGBT hate groups.
  • The highest percentage of single lesbians is found in Memphis, Tennessee.
  • Three of the top 10 U.S. cities by population do not make Vocativ’s top 35 list: Houston (No. 4), Dallas (No. 9) and Phoenix (No. 10).
  • NYC is America’s capital for LGBT hookups: There are over 2,000 same-sex “casual encounters” posts on Craigslist every day, and it has the most bathhouses and “rentboys” per capita.
  • Los Angeles is great for gay drinkers but not so much for lesbian booze-hounds: The city has 2,424 gay bars according to Vocativ, but only 168 lesbian-specific watering holes.
  • Of the top 100 largest U.S. cities, Boston had the highest number of sexual-orientation hate crimes last year: 63.
  • Atlanta has the highest number of LGBT-friendly businesses in the country, 685—over three times more than the next highest city.
  • Like bathhouses? Go west, young man! Three of the top four cities with these hookup haunts are on the West Coast.

The top-ranked cities according to the Queer Index are: Los Angeles; New York City; San Francisco; Des Moines, Iowa; Chicago; Seattle; Albany, N.Y.; Rochester, N.Y.; Denver; and Madison, Wis.

A complete list and the data behind the rankings is at


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