North Carolina’s Gay Population

NC Advocacy Logo Copyright NC Advocacy CoalitionePodunk, with the assistance of statistical information compiled by the Urban Institute, offers a great resource on its huge United States community information website: The Gay Index.

The Index measures the proportion of gay/lesbian people in a certain area with the national norm/average, based on statistics gathered through the 2000 US Census and compiled and analyzed by the Urban Institute.

The basic rule is that the number “100” represents the exact national norm/average. A city with a gay index of 140, for example, would show that the number of gay and lesbian people living in that city is 40% larger than the national norm. A city index of 80, for example, would show that the number was 20% less than the national norm.

Although I believe I’ve used ePodunk’s “Gay Index” for posts in the past, I have never compiled a short and concise list of the gay indices of North Carolina’s biggest, most well-known cities.

So, today… here it goes (the numbers below represent the combined gay male & lesbian indices, for example, Raleigh’s gay male index is 120 and the lesbian index is 92, but the combined index is 106; You can click on the city names in order to see the individual gay male v. lesbian idices):

So if we were to list North Carolina’s cities by size – gay size, instead of population size (like above), this is what we would get:

  1. Asheville
  2. Durham
  3. Carrboro
  4. Charlotte
  5. Winston-Salem
  6. Raleigh
  7. Greensboro
  8. Chapel Hill
  9. Wilmington
  10. High Point
  11. Cary
  12. Fayetteville

I would caution, however, that these gay indices do not include an accurate or adequate count of bisexual or transgender people. It is also likely that these numbers do not include the huge amounts of LGBT college students living, working and learning in these cities, as the information is based on US Census data (students would most likely report census information with their parents, in their hometowns [Edit: Commenter Justin corrected me, the US Census does/can include college students at their schools]).

Here is what ePodunk has to say about the Gay Index:

The gay index is a comparative score, based on the percentage of people reporting in the 2000 U.S. Census that they lived in a same-sex partnership.

A score of 100 is the national norm. A number above 100 indicates that the local proportion of same-sex unmarried households is higher than the national average. For example, 140 would mean that the proportion was 40 percent higher than the national norm. A score of 60 would be 40 percent lower.

This statistic is not an absolute measure of gay households. Not everyone who lives in such a relationship is gay; not everyone who is gay lives in such a relationship; and some who do may feel uncomfortable saying so on a census return. However, responses to the question, asked of all U.S. households, provide a good indicator of gay relationships in a community.

ePodunk publishes three measures: a combined gay male/lesbian score called the gay index, a score for gay males and a score for lesbians. The indexes are provided for the 1,360 U.S. communities in which 50 or more couples reported living in such relationships.

Statistics were analyzed by Gary Gates, a demographer at the Urban Institute and co-author of The Gay and Lesbian Atlas.

5 Responses to “North Carolina’s Gay Population”
  1. Samantha says:

    Yeah, this index definitely doesn’t cover UNCG’s LGBT college folk, if they did, I think Greensboro might be higher on the list. 🙂

  2. Matt says:

    I’d be inclined to say the same thing about both Chapel Hill and Wilmington, whose scores are less than the national norm, which, really, I’m not willing to believe whatsoever.

  3. Matt says:

    Oh… I must mention, however, two things:

    1) I think it is kind of funny that so many people have thought Greensboro has more gay folk. I’ve been guilty of it myself. Winston-Salem has a higher score, lol.

    2) I really don’t think that UNC-Gay lives up to its gay reputation. I don’t think that we have more gay people at our University, I just think we have more visible, outspoken and well-known gay people.

  4. Justin says:

    I remember receiving a census questionnaire during my college days that instructed me to enumerate myself in the place where I lived during the majority of the year and gave a specific example of a college student counting him/herself as a resident of his or her college town. I can’t find a direct-to-the-point answer on at the moment, but the info that I do find about what the Census Bureau calls “group quarters” leads me to believe that college students are counted in the community where they attend school.

    Also, as an alumnus of UNCG and long-time staff member, I’ve seen the school’s image as a LesBiGayTQ magnet change over time. I think that that’s due more to an overall change in societal perceptions of queer folks than to any change in the composition of the student population; there are still a lot of us here!

  5. Matt says:

    Thanks for the info on the census information gathering. I’ll add a little [edit]/correction to the post.

    UNCG is kind of its own little special place out of the whole UNC System. I like UNCG for its atmosphere and its gay community. My only hang-up, howver, is the common complacency that LGBT folks have at UNCG. It just doesn’t seem as though many LGBT students at UNCG are willing to get involved in the campus community or the greater community.

    Compare UNCG to UNC-Chapel Hill, for example. If Justin is right about the census information counting college students, then, yeah, Greensboro has more LGBT folks than Chapel Hill. Maybe (stress on maybe) the statistics for the city are just as proportional at the universities. That would mean that UNC-Chapel Hill has less LGBT students than UNCG while at the same time having the most active and the largest LGBT student group in the state.

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