San Francisco Is America’s Gayest City, Study Ranks LGBT Populations Across Country

We all knew it, but now it’s official: San Francisco is America’s gayest city, according to a new Gallup Poll released Friday.

While it may not be surprising that the progressive, politically active city by the bay is home to the nation’s largest community of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), some of the study’s other findings are.

San Jose, for instance, a mere 55 miles away at the southern end of the Bay Area, has one of the nation’s smallest LGBT populations.

San Francisco is nation's gayest city
WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 26: A woman waives a rainbow flag during a prayer service for LGBT families at the Washington National Cathedral on June 26, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Salt Lake City ranked number seven on the list of metro areas with high LGBT populations, with 4.7 percent of responders identifying as LGBT.

Pam Perlich, a senior research economist at the University of Utah’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research, told Deseret News the city attracts LGBT members from across the state and surrounding areas where they may not be as welcome.

“Salt Lake City has been very proactive and progressive in LGBT rights. We’re known in Salt Lake as a welcoming place.”

Gallup pollsters asked more than 374,000 people if they personally identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender between June, 2012, and December, 2014, as part of the largest poll of its kind.

While San Francisco topped the list with 6.2 percent of respondents reporting as LGBT, Portland came in second with 5.4 percent, followed by Austin with 5.3 percent, New Orleans with 5.1 percent, and Seattle with 4.8 percent.


The smallest LGBT population came from Birmingham, Alabama, with a mere 2.6 percent reporting as LGBT, followed by Pittsburgh with 3.0 percent and Memphis with 3.1 percent.

Bay Area city San Jose tied Raleigh, North Carolina, and Cincinnati, Ohio, for fourth place with 3.2 percent.


The largest study of its kind, the poll reported 3.6 percent of Americans identified as part of the LGBT population, and its authors noted the American gay population was pretty evenly spread throughout the country’s large metro areas.

Some states like Idaho don’t appear on Gallop’s list at all, which perhaps shouldn’t be surprising considering their legislature is trying to impeach judges who support same sex marriages.

Meanwhile, Alabama, whose metro area is at the bottom of the list, is ground zero for the ban on gay marriage debate.

The study’s authors note there may be some bias in the poll, as respondents may not have wanted to admit they identified as part of the LGBT community. Residents who live in a city where they are afforded legal protections as part of the LGBT community are more apt to identify as part of the community.

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