Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

America's Most Gay-Coupled Cities, Not Gayest Cities

A note on math: running the numbers on the prevalence of same-sex households in cities is not the same as doing the math on the "gayest cities." You're actually discovering the cities that have the most… same-sex households, resting as this premise does on the assumption that "it's probably a good bet that metro areas with relatively high proportions of same-sex couples will also have relatively high proportions of visible LGBT people, single and coupled." It might not be, you know! Cities with bigger populations of gays (particularly gay men, hmm?) might actually find fewer same-sex abodes. [N.B. Data preliminary: we have yet to see the full influence of JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality!) on gays, of course.]

10 Comments / Post A Comment

propertius (#361)

Just define "couple" liberally enough, and it will all work out. As in "we coupled for about 15 minutes."

theheckle (#621)

Choire, can you make Richard Florida and his half-baked ideas go away please?

I'd do it myself but what with the drinking there isn't time.

La Cieca (#1,110)

"Jerking Off with Nude Attractive Hebrews"

Evan Hurst (#3,398)

Thank you. So much.

spanish bombs (#562)

I thought gay meant bad!

buzzorhowl (#992)

Honestly, I think your point would hold true where hetero couples are concerned too. Regardless of sexual orientation, some huge proportion of New York City is bound to be made up of single people rather than couples.

BoHan (#29)

Seems like a list of the world's most Lesbian cities. I mean Portland, Maine? You can't wear a speedo 11.5 months of the year.

joeclark (#651)

Well, I'm reading all the literature on a similar topic, and just this afternoon on the patio with a soyaccino I read Black et al.'s "Why Do Gay Men Live in San Francisco?"

Few surveys have ever been carried out in any country that can identify single (nonpartnered) gay or lesbian people with statistical credibility. You can completely discount absolutely everything based on any kind of marketing survey; only long-term health, statistical, or social-science databases that you've never heard of have any validity whatsoever. Hence there is barely any basic demographic data in existence on single gay men and lesbians.

There is a great deal more data available on gay and lesbian couples, because such status can be imputed from reliable statistical sources even in countries that are legally hostile to gay and lesbian couples, like the United States. In countries with what Americans for some reason call "gay marriage," such comparisons are even easier. Even those counts leave out numerous groups, but are viewed as accurate at least in order of magnitude, a term few gays actually know.

Skimming, with skepticism bordering on resentment, the linked article shows that Florida et al. used one of the same data sets everyone else does. He makes the plainly false claim – oddly, the opposite from the usual false claim – that "gay men and lesbians are no more… economically productive… than any other group on average." This is backed up by nothing and is gladhanding "We're all just people!" bullshit. Nearly all studies show gay males (single or partnered) have lower, sometimes hugely lower, incomes than straight males and lesbians have equal or, more commonly, significantly higher incomes than straight women. U.K. data does not match this pattern precisely, but U.S., Canadian, Swedish, and Dutch sources all do. The lone study on Australian lesbians did not entirely confirm this pattern.

So I dunno, Choire. You want I should write a series of kooky, informative, wacky, bang!-redolent short posts about this project of mine? Because this is the second time the topic has come up and it's getting ridiculous how long the corrections need to be just to get the original post into the realm of credibility.

bb (#295)

I'd love to see that post or series of posts. Because the other problem with this (the original) post is, WTF, gay men are the only singles who do not couple heteronormatively? How about trying to measure the female gay population while taking into consideration the fact that more women identify as bisexual?

joeclark (#651)

Numerous papers I am reading are able to differentiate bisexualists from other groups. Bisexualists do not have the same income results as either heterosexualists or homosexualists. The majority of surveys using U.S. data are unable to differentiate bisexualists and homosexualists, leading, in essence, to hetero and not-hetero categories, which at least one paper (Carpenter 2005) suggests has led to muddling of results.

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