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Being LGBT+ friendly makes a city thousands of dollars better off per citizen

Being LGBT+ friendly makes a city thousands of dollars better off per citizen

  • New research indicates LGBT+ inclusive cities will likely bounce back quicker from coronavirus recession. Find out how your city ranks.
Amsterdam Pride.

Cities are thousands of dollars better off per person if they are more LGBT+ friendly, according to a new report.

It also indicates all citizens have a better quality of life in ‘accepting’ cities. And it predicts those cities are more likely to bounce back quickly after the coronavirus pandemic.

Researchers ranked ‘social acceptance’ of LGBT+ people on a 10 point scale. They then compared that to GDP per capita. And they found that, for each point they gained, cities are an incredible $2,800 better off per person.

Moreover, the effect was even higher in cities which don’t mainly rely on ‘extractives’ like oil, coal, gold, copper, iron or other minerals for their income.

In cities which don’t make their money from mining and drilling, one point out of 10 in LGBT+ acceptance gains a $4,600 increase in GDP per person.

The researchers also found LGBT+ friendly cities are more entrepreneurial and innovative, boosting their economies.

They are also ‘talent hotspots’ – cities that find it easier to attract talent to live and work there. And all citizens in LGBT+ supportive cities have a better quality of life.

Furthermore, LGBT+ friendly cities are more economically resilient. And resilient cities will bounce back more quickly from economic shocks.

That means LGBT+ inclusion could be a key ingredient in helping cities recover from the economic recession after the coronavirus pandemic.

‘Inclusion goes hand-in-hand with competitiveness’

Open for Business, a coalition of global businesses which strive to be LGBT+ inclusive, conducted the research.

They rated 144 cities with with scores ranking from ‘AAA’ to ‘E’.

Amsterdam came first, winning an AAA score. Other AAA cities include New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, London and Berlin.

Meanwhile the worst cities got an E score. They were Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, Dakar in Senegal, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Lagos in Nigeria and Tehran in Iran.

The scores combine social attitudes and the legal situation for LGBT+ people with economic performance.

Femke Halsema, mayor of Amsterdam, welcomed their highest rated city ranking:

‘One aspect that sets cities like Amsterdam apart from others is its dedication to providing a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for everyone, regardless of national origin, religion, sex, race, creed – or, indeed, sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. 

‘The evidence in this report shows that this dedication to inclusion goes hand-in-hand with economic resilience and competitiveness in cities around the world.’

Bouncing back from coronavirus will rely on human ingenuity

Overall, cities are becoming more inclusive and competitive. Since 2018, 27 cities have improved their rating.

Cities with improved ratings include Istanbul (C), Cairo (DDD), Sydney (AAA), Seoul (BBB), Kuala Lumpur (CC), Warsaw (BB), Quito (C), Munich (AA), Milan (BB) and Atlanta (AA).

However, 20 cities now have lower ratings. These include Cape Town (CCC), Johannesburg (CC), Dubai (DDD), Manila (CC), Jakarta (DD) and Madrid (A).

The trend indicates that cities are becoming increasingly polarized. Many cities are becoming more inclusive and competitive, but many others are sliding backwards.

But the report does make clear there is still a huge economic prize to be won from being LGBT+ friendly, alongside the benefits to culture, society and individuals.

Ellyn Shook is chief leadership and human resources officer of business consultants Accenture. She predicts this will be more important than ever post COVID-19:

‘To emerge stronger in a post pandemic world, organizations and communities will need to rely on human ingenuity more than ever.

‘That means not only having diverse individuals and ideas at the table, but going further to ensure a culture of equality for all, where people feel they truly belong and have equal opportunities to advance and contribute.’

LGBT+ rights have far to go

The global study comes as two other major studies show Europe is at a crucial point for LGBT+ rights.

The Rainbow Map showed countries reversing progress in the last year.

Meanwhile the biggest study ever of European Union citizens, including those in the UK, concluded many don’t feel safe and there is still ‘a long way to go for LGBTI equality’ even in the relatively advanced EU.

How does your city rank?

All 144 cities are ranked here. The researchers describe all ‘A’ cities as ‘inclusive and competitive’. ‘B’ and ‘C’ cities are ‘partially inclusive and competitive’. Meanwhile ‘D’ and ‘E’ indicates they are ‘not inclusive or competitive’.

AAA: ‘Global beacon’

  • Amsterdam
  • Dublin
  • Stockholm
  • Zurich
  • Berlin
  • Helsinki
  • Sydney
  • Boston
  • London
  • Toronto
  • Chicago
  • New York City
  • Vancouver
  • Copenhagen
  • San Francisco
  • Washington DC

AA: ‘Prime’

  • Atlanta
  • Brussels
  • Glasgow
  • Montreal
  • Vienna
  • Auckland
  • Calgary
  • Houston
  • Munich
  • Basel
  • Dallas
  • Los Angeles
  • Oslo
  • Bern
  • Edinburgh
  • Melbourne
  • Ottawa
  • Birmingham
  • Geneva
  • Minneapolis
  • Paris

A: ‘High’

  • Hamburg
  • Perth
  • Barcelona
  • Hong Kong
  • Stuttgart
  • Belfast
  • Luxembourg
  • Wellington
  • Brisbane
  • Lyon
  • Frankfurt
  • Madrid

BBB: ‘Upper Medium’

  • Lisbon
  • Tokyo
  • Prague
  • Seoul
  • Tallinn
  • Tel Aviv

BB: ‘Medium’

  • Buenos Aires
  • Rome
  • Ljubljana
  • Santiago
  • Milan
  • Singapore
  • Montevideo
  • Vilnius
  • Osaka
  • Warsaw

B: ‘Lower Medium’

  • Athens
  • Nagoya
  • Bangalore
  • Riga
  • Budapest
  • San Jose
  • Busan
  • São Paulo
  • Medellín

CCC: ‘Low’

  • Bogotá
  • Mexico City
  • Zagreb
  • Bratislava
  • Mumbai
  • Bucharest
  • Rio De Janeiro
  • Cape Town
  • Sofia
  • Guadalajara
  • Wroclaw

CC: ‘Low’

  • Bangkok
  • Ho Chi Minh City
  • Panama City
  • Belgrade
  • Johannesburg
  • Brasília
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Delhi
  • Manila
  • Durban
  • Monterrey

C: ‘Low’

  • Abu Dhabi
  • Lima
  • Beijing
  • Quito
  • Chennai
  • Shanghai
  • Hyderabad
  • Tbilisi
  • Istanbul

DDD: ‘Medium risk’

  • Amman
  • Hanoi
  • San Salvador
  • Asunción
  • Kiev
  • Santo Domingo
  • Doha
  • Kingston
  • Skopje
  • Dubai
  • La Paz
  • Tirana
  • Guangzhou
  • Moscow
  • Tunis

DD: ‘Substantial risk’

  • Nur-Sultan
  • Jakarta
  • St Petersburg
  • Casablanca
  • Kuwait City
  • Chongqing
  • Minsk
  • Colombo
  • Phnom Penh
  • Guatemala City
  • Sarajevo

D: ‘High risk’

  • Baku
  • Tegucigalpa
  • Cairo
  • Yangon
  • Dhaka
  • Nairobi
  • Rabat

E: ‘Closed’

  • Addis Ababa
  • Dakar
  • Dar es Salaam
  • Lagos
  • Tehran