Geography of Tolerance

Jim Burroway

July 17th, 2012

Click to enlarge.

Richard Florida has updated his rankings of U.S. metro areas on the Tolerance Scale for The Rise of the Creative Class–Revisited. Tolerance is one of the three “T’s,” along with Technology and Talent, which Florida contends makes up the necessary ingredients for the “creative class” to take root in a metropolitan area., Florida’s Tolerance Scale ranks U.S. metro areas in three key areas: the share of immigrants or foreign-born residents, the Integration Index (which measures the degree segregation between ethnic and racial groups), and the Gay Index (the concentration of gays and lesbians). Why a Gay Index?

Openness to gays and lesbians similarly reflects an ecosystem that is open to new people and new ideas. It’s amazing how consistently people have misconstrued what my colleagues and I have had to say about the connection between gays and economic growth. They miss the point. A strong and vibrant gay community is a solid leading indicator of a place that is open to many different kinds of people. Ronald Inglehart, who has studied the relationship between culture and economic growth for some four decades, has noted that the lack of societal acceptance of gays is the most significant remaining bastion of intolerance and discrimination around the world. Accordingly, communities that have long been more accepting and open to gay people have an underlying ecosystem which is also more likely to be accepting of new ideas and different types of people, including the eggheads and eccentrics who invent new things and start new enterprises. As Bill Bishop put it, “where gay households abound, geeks follow.”

F Young

July 17th, 2012

Though I had heard about how many LGBs live there, I was still surprised by how tolerant Atlanta, Boulder, Dallas, Miami, Orlando and Phoenix are, given the states where they are located.

I guess big metropolitan areas are entities in their right, and have more in common with each other than with the states in which they are officially located.

I was also rather surprised that New York City got beat by Washington DC and nearly all of Mass.


July 17th, 2012

Miami is not uniform. African American neighborhoods (and Downtown before it has started to be gentrified) was a no-go zone for gay men, especially at night.

Also, immigrants from certain Latin American countries, like my country from Venezuela, actually add to the share of intolerance — homophobia is very widespread in said cultures. Just because Argentina legalized same-sex marriage does not mean it’s popular among Argentinians.

Go to Hialeah, and you’ll hear “faggot” way earlier before getting a greeting of any kind.

Then go North from Miami, and you got the scariest places of the bunch with rednecks that despise both gay people and Hispanics. You don’t know redneck until you meet the Floridian ones.

F Young

July 18th, 2012

I also find it interesting that the much talked about North-South dichotomy is only really true on the West Coast, and to a much lesser extent on the East Coast.

For the fly-over country, the dichotomy is Eastern-Western, with the Eastern half more tolerant than the Western half.

Another way of looking at the fly-over country (and arguably the entire country) is to separate out college towns and big cities from everything else.


July 25th, 2012

was shocked to see Tennessee Texas and Alabama having ANY gay tolerance at all.

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