In 2019, the number of people in the UK identifying at heterosexual decreased to 93.7% from 94.6% the year before. Additionally, across 27 countries surveyed by the LGBT+ Pride 2021 Global Survey, 4% of Gen Z identify as other than male or female, compared to 1% of all adults.
Living in a vibrant and welcoming city as a part of this community can have a huge impact on your happiness and quality of life.
So, our financial experts wanted to look at which cities around the world and states in the USA are the most accepting towards the LGBTQ+ community.
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Our mortgage experts determined these ‘accepting’ cities by looking at the level of overall acceptance of the community, the number of gay bars and clubs in the area, and the average rating of these bars and clubs.
To determine the most accepting USA states, we looked at how difficult it is to change the gender marker on your birth certificate and driving licence, the level of state support for LGBTQ+ adults who have started or wish to start a family, work safety, the percentage of adults aged over 18 who identify as LGBTQ+, and the percentage of LGBTQ+ adults aged over 25 raising children.
If you’re looking to move or travel to a new country, and want to feel completely welcome doing it, then these are the cities that scored highest in our index.
Reykjavik came out on top of our index and is crowned the most LGBTQ+ friendly city, so chances are you’ll feel extremely welcome and free to be completely yourself wherever you go in this city.
Reykjavik also has the most LGBTQ+ dedicated bars and clubs out of the top cities, with 2.5 establishments per 100,000 people. These bars and clubs also have a high average rating of 4.0 on TripAdvisor, showing that not only are there establishments you can go to, but that they are great quality establishments, too.
The city of Amsterdam is second on our index of LGBTQ+ friendly cities, scoring 9.8/10 for LGBTQ+ acceptance overall. While the city has less dedicated bars and clubs per 100,000 people than Reykjavik, 1.4 to be precise, there are still 16 overall - so there’s no lack of nightlife to enjoy. These establishments also have a high average rating of 4.0 on TripAdvisor, so once again you can be sure to have a good night no matter which you choose.
The Netherlands is the home country of two of the top five most accepting cities in the world, so the country is evidently doing something right. Rotterdam comes in third place, scoring 9.8/10 for LGBTQ+ acceptance just like its neighbour, Amsterdam.
However, it misses out on second place due to there only being 0.2 LGBTQ+ bars and clubs per 100,000 people. Despite there not being many dedicated establishments for the community, the ones that do exist have an average TripAdvisor rating of 5.0 - quality over quantity.
San Francisco has long been known as a very progressive city, so it’s not surprising that it comes in fourth place when it comes to the most LGBTQ+ friendly cities.
The city scores 8.21/10 for acceptance overall, and has 1.6 dedicated LGBTQ+ bars and clubs per 100,000 people (14 in total across the city). On average, these bars and clubs have a TripAdvisor rating of 4.2, so you’ll easily be able to find a great venue for a fun night out.
In fifth place is Dublin. The capital of Ireland scored 9.1/10 for its acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, meaning it’s a great place to move or travel to as a member of this community if you want to feel welcomed and free to be yourself.
There aren’t many dedicated LGBTQ+ bars and clubs, only 0.2 per 100,000 people, but the ones that do exist score a high average of 4.3 on TripAdvisor. So chances are, no matter which of the three total bars you visit, it will be a good night.
The USA has many liberal and progressive areas to visit and live in, but some more so than others. When it comes to LGBTQ+ acceptance, we’ve discovered the states that come out on top.
To rank the states, we looked at the difficulty of changing the gender marker on your birth certificate and driving licence, rate of state support for LGBTQ+ adults who have started or wish to start a family, safety at work rank, the percentage of adults who are part of the LGBTQ+ community and the percentage of LGBTQ+ adults raising children.
The state of Hawaii is the most accepting and LGBTQ+ friendly state in the USA according to our data. The process of changing the gender marker on your birth certificate or driving licence is among the smoothest in the country, scoring the highest possible 5/5 for ease in our index.
The state scores 2.5/5 when it comes to the level of support given to LGBTQ+ individuals who wish to start a family, or have started one already, however it scores very highly when it comes to work safety, with 5/5 in this data point. This means that includes incidents of verbal harrasment, sexual assault and other mistreatment are low in the state.
As an LGBTQ+ individual in this state, you are in good company, as 4.6% of the population identify as part of this community. Additionally, 30% of this community in Hawaii are raising children, the highest rate of the top five states, despite the family support score being among the lowest.
Maine is the second most accepting state in the USA according to our data. Just like Hawaii, the process of changing the gender marker on both your birth certificate and driving licence is among the easiest in the country, scoring 5/5 on our index.
The level of support for LGBTQ+ people wanting to start a family, or already with a family, is the highest of the top five states, scoring 3.67/5. However, only 21% of LGBTQ+ adults in Maine over 25 are raising children. This is quite a lot less than Hawaii, despite the family support score being much higher.
The level of safety at work is also very high in this state, scoring 5/5 on our index, showing that those part of this community in Maine are welcome to live completely as themselves both in their personal lives and their work lives. This is great, especially since 4.9% of adults over 18 in Maine identify as LGBTQ+, one of the highest rates in the country.
Vermont is not only a great place to live if you love all things nature - it’s also a very accepting and LGBTQ+ friendly state. Once again, the ease of changing the gender marker on your birth certificate is high, scoring 5/5 on our index. However, it is slightly more difficult to change this on your driving licence, with this data point only scoring 3/5.
While this may be a lower score than other states in the top five, Vermont makes up for it in other ways. The state support for LGBTQ+ individuals with or wanting to start a family is high, scoring 3.5/5, and the level of work safety is also high, scoring 4/5. This is great news for the 5.2% of adults over 18 in the state who identify as a part of this community.
The high level of support for the community starting a family means that there is a fairly big percentage of LGBTQ+ adults over 25 raising children, at 23%.
California is the fourth most LGBTQ+ friendly state according to our data. With a diverse group of people moving to cities like Los Angeles to pursue their career dreams, it’s a progressive and liberal state, making it great to travel or move to for anyone looking for a welcoming and accepting place.
Changing the gender marker on both your birth certificate and driving licence is among the easiest in the country, scoring 5/5 on our index. The support for LGBTQ+ identifying individuals wanting to start, or having started, a family is also high, scoring 3.5/5. Additionally, 24% of LGBTQ+ adults over 25 are raising children, so this support seems to be going a long way.
At work, the safety rating is lower than in other states, with only 3/5, however this will depend on the field of work and area of the state you choose to work in. Overall, the state has one of the highest percentages of adults over 18 who identify as LGBTQ+, at 5.3%, so you will definitely be able to find a welcoming community wherever you go.
Finishing off the top five most LGBTQ+ friendly states in the USA is Minnesota. Known for its friendly residents, the midwest state makes it very easy for you to change the gender marker on your birth certificate and driving licence - both score 5/5 for ease on our index.
The rate of state support for LGBTQ+ families or hopeful families is one of the lowest in the top five, scoring 2.5/5. However, the percentage of LGBTQ+ adults over 25 raising children is among the highest, at 28%.
Additionally, the work safety score is great, scoring 5/5 on our index. As a result, the 4.1% of adults over 18 who identify as LGBTQ+ have a great chance of finding work they feel completely accepted in, helping them be themselves both in and out of professional life.
The most accepting cities in the world were measured using a worldwide indicator sourced from Social Progress on the level of acceptance in each country, Tripadvisor data on number of LGBTQ+ establishments as well as their ratings. The metrics have been ranked in order to gain an overall score to determine the city most accepting and accommodating of LGBTQ+ people..
The most accepting US states were measured using metrics around the difficulty of changing your birth certificate, the difficulty in changing your driving licence, family support, work safety, % of the adult population who are LGBTQ+ and the percentage of LGBTQ+ adults who are raising children. The metrics have been ranked in order to gain an overall score to determine the most accepting state in the USA. All metrics were gathered from data from Outleadership and the Williams Institute.
James is our senior personal finance editor and has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news. He has previously written for ReachPLC, was money editor of Mirror Online and Yahoo Finance UK, and has recently been quoted in City AM, Liverpool Echo and Daily Record as well as featured on national radio shows TalkRadio and the BBC.
James has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news, specialising in consumer rights, pensions, insurance, property and investments - picking up a series of awards for his journalism along the way.