The best (and worst) US states for LGBT families, ranked

Deciding on a place where to live as a LGBT+ family can be challenging in a country like the US, where legislations on matters such as adoption and discrimination can change drastically across state lines.

A ranking of all 50 states by, an online resource dedicated to all matters pertaining to moving, has highlighted the best and worst jurisdictions for LGBT+ couples according to several criteria focusing on safeguards for LGBT+ people from a legislative standpoint, and the size of the community.

Specifically, considered legislations regarding hate crime, discrimination, adoption and conversion therapy for minors, as well as LGBT+ population density, number of pride centres, availability of LGBT-supporting businesses, and overall equality in each state.

“Laws vary from state to state, and although you may enjoy living in a particular location, we
wanted to ensure your rights are be protected, as well,” explained in a statement about the ranking’s methodology provided to PinkNews. “So for this study, safety laws came first, and community came second.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, California maintained its status of LGBT-friendly state topping’s ranking. The Sunshine State was described as “checking all the boxes” on matters of LGBT+ families’ support and recognition.

Within each state, also recommended a number of cities that offer the best locations. For California, these included Long Beach, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, and San Diego. Overall, the capital Washington D.C. was ranked as the best city in the country for LGBT+ families. New York also got a special mention as 114 businesses that made the Human Rights Campaign’s “Best Places to Work in 2018” list are located in the Big Apple, the highest concentration in the country.


Marchers celebrate being accepted at the Pride Parade at the conclusion of the two-day 25th annual Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride Festival and Celebration on May 18, 2008 in Long Beach, California (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

The State of Illinois follows in second place. The ranking found that Illinois offers similar laws as California and a similar  proportion of same-sex couples raising children (16.6 percent), ensuring the state ranks high on both safety and community. Overall, median house prices in Illinois ($201,500) are less than half those of California ($478,200), fitting a tighter budget.

Hawaii, Connecticut and Maryland filled the ensuing three spots in the ranking. At the very bottom of the ranking, instead, feature West Virginia, a state where legislation does not specifically define protections for LGBT+ individuals, yet allows same-sex couples to adopt. LGBT+ couples face instead more hurdles in Virginia, Wisconsin, South Dakota and North Dakota—the other four states joining the Mountain State at the bottom of the ranking.


Gay fathers and their children march in the LA Pride Parade on June 8, 2014 in West Hollywood, California (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

This is the full ranking

1. California
2. Illinois
3. Hawaii
4. Connecticut
5. Maryland
6. Nevada
7. New Mexico
8. New Jersey
9. Vermont
10. Oregon
11. Delaware
12. New Hampshire
13. Colorado
14. Rhode Island
15. Massachusetts
16. Flordia
17. Arizona
18. Minnesota
19. Missouri
20. Maine
21. Louisiana
22. Kentucky
23. Iowa
24. Kansas
25. Washington

26. New York
27. Georgia
28. Nebraska
29. Alabama
30. Alaska
31. Arkansas
32. Idaho
33. Indiana
34. Michigan
35. Texas
36. North Carolina
37. Mississippi
38. Tennessee
39. Montana
40. Ohio
41. Pennsylvania
42. Oklahoma
43. Wyoming
44. Utah
45. South Carolina
46. North Dakota
47. South Dakota
48. Wisconsin
49. Virginia
50. West Virginia