Gay Houston bottoms out in U.S. cities survey

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When it comes to national LGBT rankings, Houston is a mixed bag of highs and lows. Now survey juggernaut Gallup deals the city a blow in its count of gay people in the nation's largest metropolitan areas.

Beyond the study that cuts down a popular estimate that 10 percent of people are gay to a more manageable 3.5 percent, the latest look at the numbers goes a step further by drilling down to gay percentage of population by city. Houston is a lowly No. 44 among the 50 largest major U.S. cities, though it’s a tight race from the top-down, according to a New York Times analysis.

Gallup’s numbers are based on surveys of 374,325 adults across the 50 largest metropolitan areas, conducted between June 2012 and December 2014. The margin of sampling error for each of the metropolitan areas is no more than plus or minus 1 percentage point. The margin of error is one reason we’ve focused here on the areas at the top and bottom of the list. You shouldn’t make much of tiny differences between areas.

Those tiny differences mean that among the Top 50, only 2.9 percent separate No. 1 San Francisco (6.2 percent) and No. 44 Houston (3.3 percent). With the 1 percent margin of error, there’s more statistical significance in the fact that the numbers are self-reported.

That may reflect respondents’ comfort with revealing their sexual orientation in places like Birmingham, Ala., which self-reports the lowest number of gay people at 2.6 percent of its population. Chicago (No. 34), Dallas (No. 35),  and Houston are the largest cities in the bottom half of the survey.

It could be worse. At least this time the national ranking results don’t measure the whole state sucking for LGBTs, or all of those homophobic Texas schools. Then again, when those kids get to college, Houston’s own Rice and UH rank among the gayest campuses in the U.S. And of course we did score the bonafide Best Mayor in the World.

Here are Gallup's percentage of gay population estimates in the 50 largest U.S. cities.

San Francisco, 6.2 percent

Portland, Ore., 5.4

Austin, Tex., 5.3

New Orleans, 5.1

Seattle, 4.8

Boston, 4.8

Salt Lake City, 4.7

Los Angeles, 4.6

Denver, 4.6

Hartford, 4.6

Louisville, Ky., 4.5

Virginia Beach, 4.4

Providence, R.I., 4.4

Las Vegas, 4.3

Columbus, Ohio, 4.3

Jacksonville, Fla., 4.3

Miami, 4.2

Indianapolis, 4.2

Atlanta, 4.2

Orlando, Fla., 4.1

Tampa, Fla. 4.1

Phoenix, 4.1

New York, 4

San Antonio, 4

Washington, 4

Riverside, Calif., 4

Philadelphia, 3.9

Baltimore, 3.9

Buffalo, 3.9

Detroit, 3.9

Sacramento, 3.9

San Diego, 3.9

Charlotte, N.C., 3.8

Chicago, 3.8

Dallas, 3.8

Cleveland, 3.7

Kansas City (Mo. and Kan.), 3.6

Minneapolis-St. Paul, 3.6

St. Louis, 3.6

Oklahoma City, 3.5

Richmond, Va., 3.5

Nashville., 3.5

Milwaukee, 3.5

Houston, 3.3

San Jose, Calif., 3.2

Raleigh, N.C., 3.2

Cincinnati, 3.2

Memphis, 3.1

Pittsburgh, 3

Birmingham, Ala., 2.6


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