SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – National pollster Gallup ranked the Top 50 Metropolitan areas for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender populations. Salt Lake City ranked the 7th highest in the Top 50 with 4.7% of the adult population.
No surprise that San Francisco ranked first at 6.2%. Ahead of Utah in the survey were cities like Austin, Texas, Portland, Ore., and New Orleans. What was more surprising was Salt Lake City landed higher in the rankings than some of the bigger U.S. cities like New York, which came in 23rd, and Los Angeles which ranked 8th.
Utah has long held a reputation for being a very conservative state, so it was a surprise to many people to hear it had ranked so high. Many people in downtown thought Salt Lake would have landed towards the bottom of the list.
“At least in the bottom 25,” said Alex Rodwick.
and Shana Rodwick shared in that sentiment, “definitely the bottom 10.”
However, some people were more generous and put Salt Lake higher.
“I’d say it’s number two or one depending of New York, I mean it’s very big here,” said Joshua Rice.
Despite the state’s conservative politics and its strong religious culture, Utah did recently pass Senate Bill 296, the first state to pass such legislation since 2007. Not to mention most states don’t have such laws on the books. Many say the city itself is very welcoming and believe that is a reflection of why Salt Lake ranked in the Top 10.
“Given the conservative nature of the state of Utah and the reputation Salt Lake City on the other hand is kind of a more liberal oasis, and I think it attracts a lot of gays and lesbians from smaller communities who are looking for greater opportunities, more acceptance, and feeling more comfortable,” said Kent Frogley, the President of the Board of Trustees for the Utah Pride Center.
The rankings of the survey were based off of over 350,000 interviews between adults 18 and over between June, 2012 and December, 2014. The survey is also the first time a study has had a large enough sample size to provide an estimate of the country’s LGBT communities by Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). It is also the largest ongoing study of the LGBT population.
The variations across MSA’s did also provide some very interesting information about LGBT identification and the possible relationship between legal and ideological climates among different regions of the country. These rankings may also be a possible indication of where LGBT adults choose to live.