For all the grumping from the anti-gay set about how gay people are ruining America, the statistics sure don’t bear that out.  Richard Florida, one of the country’s foremost experts on what makes a city a great place to live, with the best chance of succeeding longterm, has, with Gary Gates of UCLA, crunched the numbers and found that the cities with the most and most visible gay communities tend to be those best positioned for success across the board.  They also ranked the twenty gayest cities in the country.  First, some correlations associated with a large, prominent gay community:

While politicians and voters continue to debate whether LGBT people have the right to marry, to adopt children, or serve openly in the U.S. military, a growing body of research suggests that considerable benefits accrue to those cities and metro areas that have sizeable, visible concentrations of gay men and lesbians. Income levels are higher, as are many other measures of life satisfaction.

Research I conducted with Charlotta Mellander revealed that metro areas with higher proportions of gay men and lesbians also have higher housing values—a finding thatlanded me on The Colbert Report. A study I conducted with Gates in 2001 discerned a close association between regions with higher proportions of same-sex couples and concentrations of high-tech businesses. And there’s more:

• Ronald Inglehart’s World Values Surveys have found that tolerance in general, and tolerance toward gays and lesbians in particular, is associated with the shift to a more modern, more democratic, and more affluent “post-materialist” political culture.

• Soul of the Community, a study conducted by the Gallup Organization, found that more open and tolerant attitudes toward LGBT people (as well as to other groups) was one of two key factors, along with natural beauty and environmental quality, that corresponded with higher levels of satisfaction with and emotional attachment to a community.

• A cross-national study by Marcus Noland of the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that tolerant attitudes in general correlated with more open attitudes toward globalization, as well as with higher rates of economic performance.

He’s not saying that gays and lesbians, in and of ourselves, are the key factor in making these cities better, but refers to us more as the “canary in the coal mine signaling openness to new ideas, new business models, and diverse and different thinking kinds of people—precisely the characteristics of a local ecosystem that can attract cutting-edge entrepreneurs and mobilize new companies.”

That makes sense.  Click this clicky to see if your city is on the list of the “20 gayest cities” in the US.

(h/t Nick Seaver at AmBlogGay)