Minneapolis, St. Paul both among most LGBT-friendly cities, study says


After being outside the top 10 last year, Minneapolis and St. Paul both crack NerdWallet's 2014 list of America's most LGBT-friendly cities.

Asked to explain why Minnesota's two largest cities rose up the ranks, study author Sreekar Jasthi tells us it had to do, in part, with a marriage equality law being signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton last year.

See also:

Minnesota for Marriage official on marriage amendment defeat: "We won 74 out of 87 counties"

NerdWallet's methodology includes gay presence (as measured by percentage of households with same-sex partners), LGBT-friendly laws and opportunities (as measured by the Human Rights Campaign's 2013 Municipal Equality Index), and LGBT safety and tolerance.

Somewhat strangely, one factor that pushed Minneapolis down to sixth place is the number of sexual orientation-related hate crimes per 100,000 residents. The most recent crime numbers show there were nearly five per 100,000 residents, which is far and away the highest rate of any city in the top 10.

"With fewer registered hate crimes Minneapolis would likely have been third, just behind San Francisco and Seattle because of its share of same-sex couples," Jasthi says. (Over 2 percent of Minneapolis households contain same-sex partners [2.4 percent to be specific], only behind Seattle [2.6 percent] and San Francisco [2.5 percent] among top 10 cities.)

Though only 1.1 percent of St. Paul households contain a same-sex couple, the city has far less sexual orientation-related hate crimes than Minneapolis -- just 0.34 per 100,000 residents.

"In the safety category, St. Paul ranked really highly, and that's why it ended up in the top 10," Jasthi says.

Here's the full top 10 list:

  1. Seattle

  2. San Francisco

  3. Atlanta

  4. Oakland

  5. Long Beach

  6. Mpls

  7. Austin

  8. Jersey City

  9. St. Paul

  10. Chicago

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]