Study: Rural Gays Happier Than Urban Counterparts

by Sergio N. Candido

South Florida Gay News

Wednesday September 11, 2013

It is generally thought that the city, with its wide variety of people, offers a more welcoming setting for LGBT, however, a new study asserts that gays in rural areas might actually be better off than those in metropolitan cities.

The study, called "Does Place of Residence Matter? Rural-Urban Differences and the Wellbeing of Gay Men and Lesbians," was recently released by the Journal of Homosexuality. It focuses on the experiences of 635 gays and lesbian living in the U.S., who filled out a series of surveys regarding their experiences.

The results found living in large metro areas seems to negatively impact the health and well-being of gays and lesbians.

"For gay people, large cities tend to provide more social-networking opportunities, more social and institutional supports and more tolerant social climates," the study concludes. "Yet, they also typically have more noise, pollution, traffic, crime and ethnic conflict - stressors that tend to erode wellbeing. Other drawbacks of urban life may include high taxes, inferior public schools, substandard housing and a relatively high cost of living."

Researchers reached the conclusion that the quality of life experienced by rural or small-town gays often outweighs the challenges and threats associated with living in a large metropolitan area.

These findings contradict a research study conducted last year that concluded that conservative climates in rural and small town settings tend to negatively impact the health and well being of LGBTs.

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