EDITORIAL | It's spendy to be gay-friendly

It turns out, it’s costly to live in a gay-friendly city. Seattle has taken over as the most populous gay city in the United States. Our 2.6-percent gay households beat out the longtime gay-friendly mecca of San Francisco by 0.1 percent.

While the margin is miniscule, it wasn’t the previous year. In 2011, only 1.7 percent of Seattle households were gay couples, while San Francisco was at 2.4 percent. So why the massive growth? Approving Referendum 74 undoubtedly has something to do with it, while California was still battling Proposition 8 well into mid-2013. 

But maybe the biggest factor has nothing to do with sexual orientation and everything to do with cost of living. It’s no secret that it’s not cheap to live in Seattle. The average monthly cost of a one-bedroom in Seattle in 2010 was $1,024 (some more recent estimates are as high as $1,517); the average cost of a one-bedroom in San Francisco is $2,700. It makes sense for someone to move from San Francisco to Seattle for the lower rent since our industries are so similar, especially technology. 

The tech boom is largely responsible for rent increase in San Francisco, The Wall Street Journal reported. With well-paid people moving to the city to work in tech, the cost of living skyrocketed. 

It sounds like Seattle may follow in San Francisco’s footsteps. Seattle’s rent increased 5.8 percent last year and is expected to grow another 5.2 percent in 2013. If Seattle follows in San Francisco’s tech-fueled rent explosion, where will people go to find their next gay-friendly city? Minneapolis ranks third. The average cost for a one-bedroom in Minneapolis ranges from $850 to $1,200, depending on the area. 

Another theory is that Seattle is more family-friendly. Couples looking for a place to settle down and start a family may rule out other cities in favor of Seattle, an equal rights advocate told The Seattle Times. 

So whether it’s the lower rent or the better family environment, is Seattle worth it or should same-sex couples save money and move to one of the cities with the lowest gay-household populations? El Paso, Texas, which has a gay population of 0.25 percent, has an average one-bedroom rent of $642.

It’s definitely worth the extra cost to live in a city where all marriage is legal, tech is booming and you’re not the only gay household in your neighborhood.

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