The Best States to Start an LGBTQ+ Family in 2024

Rebecca Edwards
Katherine McEntire
Jun 28, 2024
Icon Time To Read6 min read
Map with the most LGBTQ+ friendly states noted with pins.

Image: Move.org

Deciding where to put down roots and start your family can be stressful, especially for LGBTQ+ families. Despite the strides toward equality the US has made in the last decade, 2024 has seen more than 500 state legislative bills against LGBTQ+ individuals introduced. Unfortunately, there are still plenty of places in the US where LGBTQ+ individuals and families regularly experience discrimination and abuse.

Learn which states will welcome your family with open arms and which ones you should examine more closely before you move.


Top 7 most LGBTQ+ friendly states

1. Delaware

2. New Mexico

3. Hawaii

4. Arkansas

5. Nevada

6. Alaska

7. Indiana (tie)

7. Vermont (tie)

To help you and your partner find a safe and accepting place to raise your family, we dug into every state’s laws and LGBTQ+ population statistics to determine which are the most LGBTQ-friendly. We also looked at the cost of living to identify friendly and affordable places to call home.

Take a closer look at our key findings:

Key findings: Anti-LGBTQ+ legislation

  • 32 anti LGBTQ+ bills have been passed so far in 2024. Nationwide, 509 bills have been active in state legislatures through May 31, 2024.
  • Among our top states, 26 anti LGBTQ+ bills have been on the docket in 2024—5% of the 509 total bills addressed nationwide so far this year.
  • 10 states have had no anti LGBTQ+ legislation on the books so far in 2024: Delaware, Arkansas, Nevada, Texas, North Dakota, Colorado, Connecticut, Montana, New York, and California.
  • Oklahoma proposed 54 bills against LGBTQ+, the most in the nation; 45 of those (83%) were ultimately defeated.
  • Tennessee has passed the most legislation (8 bills) against LGBTQ+ people, followed by Utah (6 bills) and Idaho (5 bills).
  • 3 of the top 7 states have Democratic governors, and 5 have Republican governors.
  • Ruling parties are divided among the top  states, with 3 Democratic governments, 2 Republican governments, and 3 divided between the parties across the senate and house majorities and the governor's office.

Key findings: Hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people

  • There were 2,309 hate crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals reported nationwide in 2022.
  • No states reported 0 hate crimes against LGBTQ+ residents in 2022.
  • 16 states reported 10 or fewer hate crimes, with Alaska and North Dakota reporting the fewest at 1 each.
  • Despite no legislative activity, the 10 states with no active bills saw 883 reported hate crimes against LGBTQ+ individuals in 2022, with California leading the country at 459 incidents.
  • 6 states saw hate crime numbers in the triple digits: California (459), New Jersey (202), Texas (149), New York (141), Washington (119), and Massachusetts (102).
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Key findings: LGBTQ+ population

  • Oklahoma, where the most bills were active this year, also has the third-highest showing of LGBTQ+ families with children—38%. Overall, 3.8% of Oklahoma's population is LGBTQ+.
  • Oregon reports the highest percentage of LGBTQ+ people, making up 5.6% of the population, followed by Nevada (5.5%) and California (5.3%).
  • Idaho has the largest percentage of LGBTQ+ families with children—44%, followed by Utah with 40%.
  • North Dakota has the smallest LGBTQ+ population at 2.7%, followed by Idaho (2.8%) and Montana (2.9%).

Same sex couple and their child preparing dinner in kitchen stock photo

Image: Kemal Yildirim, iStock


Most friendly states for LGBTQ+ families

1. Delaware

  • Anti-LGBTQ+ bills: 0
  • Population: 1,031,890; 4.5% LGBTQ+; 35% LGBTQ+ with children
  • LGBTQ+ hate crimes in 2022: 2
  • State government: Democratic trifecta
  • Average home value price: $388,199.13
  • Average rent price: $1,944.03
  • Cost of living index: 101.1
  • Move.org Lifestyle Ranking: 1

2. New Mexico

  • Anti-LGBTQ+ bills: 2 introduced; 0 passed
  • Population: 2,114,371; 4.5% LGBTQ+; 29% LGBTQ+ with children
  • LGBTQ+ hate crimes in 2022: 7
  • State government: Democratic trifecta
  • Average home value price: $303,285.84
  • Average rent price: $1,873.43
  • Cost of living index: 94
  • Move.org Lifestyle Ranking: 3

3. Hawaii

  • Anti-LGBTQ+ bills: 10 introduced; 4 advancing; 0 passed
  • Population: 1,435,138; 4.6% LGBTQ+; 30% LGBTQ+ with children
  • LGBTQ+ hate crimes in 2022: 2
  • State government: Democratic trifecta
  • Average home value price: $856,643.66
  • Average rent price: $3,557.18
  • Cost of living index: 180.3
  • Move.org Lifestyle Ranking: 17

4. Arkansas

  • Anti-LGBTQ+ bills: 0
  • Population: 3,067,732; 3.3% LGBTQ+; 36% LGBTQ+ with children
  • LGBTQ+ hate crimes in 2022: 3
  • State government: Republican trifecta
  • Average home value price: $207,880.27
  • Average rent price: $1,311.88
  • Cost of living index: 89
  • Move.org Lifestyle Ranking: 2

5. Nevada

  • Anti-LGBTQ+ bills: 0
  • Population: 3,194,176; 5.5% LGBTQ+; 22% LGBTQ+ with children
  • LGBTQ+ hate crimes in 2022: 20
  • State government: Divided
  • Average home value price: $440,473.34
  • Average rent price: $2,238.88
  • Cost of living index: 101
  • Move.org Lifestyle Ranking: 11

6. Alaska

  • Anti-LGBTQ+ bills: 0
  • Population: 733,406; 3.7% LGBTQ+; 34% LGBTQ+ with children
  • LGBTQ+ hate crimes in 2022: 1
  • State government: Divided
  • Average home value price: $363,407.06
  • Average rent price: $$2,216.12
  • Cost of living index: 125.2
  • Move.org Lifestyle Ranking: 15

7. Vermont (tie)

  • Anti-LGBTQ+ bills: 1 introduced
  • Population: 647,464; 5.2% LGBTQ+; 23% LGBTQ+ with children
  • LGBTQ+ hate crimes in 2022: 11
  • State government: Divided
  • Average home value price: $393,648.80
  • Average rent price: $3,050.00
  • Cost of living index: 115.3
  • Move.org Lifestyle Ranking: 20

7. Indiana (tie)

  • Anti-LGBTQ+ bills: 5 introduced; 5 defeated
  • Population: 6,862,199; 4.5% LGBTQ+; 34% LGBTQ+ with children
  • LGBTQ+ hate crimes in 2022: 32
  • State government: Republican trifecta
  • Average home value price: $243,876.83
  • Average rent price: $1,399.00
  • Cost of living index: 91
  • Move.org Lifestyle Ranking: 5

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Methodology

For this year's report, we teamed up with SafeWise, a website committed to helping people live a safer life at home and in their community.

To find our results, we examined each state from multiple angles. We prioritized current and recent legislation passed, advanced, or blocked in each state that affects the quality of life of LGBTQ+ families. These measures included bills around drag bans, school sports, adjusting identification and name changes, access to gender-affirming medical care and more. We also factored in the number of LGBTQ+ hate crimes reported in the state in 2022, the most recent year for which complete data was available. These factors were the primary contributors to the Move.org Safety Ranking. 

We also considered the general population of each state, its reported LGBTQ population, and the percentage of queer folks within each state and those with children.

Because moving is our specialty, we also looked at how affordable it is for families in each state. We prioritized affordability in our data by researching home and rental costs and the average cost of living. The Cost of Living Index we used considers the average prices in each state for necessities such as housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, and health. If a state is more expensive than the national average, its number lands over 100, and under 100 if it's less expensive.

We considered all factors—safety data points and affordability data points—to determine our Lifestyle Ranking. This rank considers both the safety score and the affordability score for each state. We analyzed all related data points and ranked each state by each category. Next, we gave more weight to LGBTQ safety data points. Finally, we took the average of all the category scores to find the overall Lifestyle score.

We’d also like to note that we didn’t look into local laws. Some cities in states that scored poorly in our rankings may have more inclusive local laws and may be good options for your family. Likewise, states that scored higher in our rankings may have areas with less inclusive local laws.

See all sources used for this report.


The 5 least LGBTQ+ friendly states

Safety rank
State
Bills introduced
Bills passed
Hate crimes
Cost of living index
Lifestyle rank
50Missouri3903288.535
49Kentucky140329238
48Iowa3741990.331
47New Jersey80202113.950
46Alabama412288.324

"Bills introduced" includes all active anti-LGBTQ+ bills in state legislatures from January 1, 2024 through May 31, 2024, including newly-introduced bills, bills that are currently advancing, bills that have passed, and bills that have been defeated. Hate crimes include incidents against LGBTQ+ individuals reported to the FBI in 2022, the most recent year for which data is available. The "Lifestyle rank" is a Move.org score that considers both LGBTQ+ safety data points and cost of living data points, including average home and rent prices as of May 31, 2024.


These five states ranked last in our rankings of LGBTQ+-friendly states. We understand that the metrics we've used to rank states cannot capture the whole picture of any community, let alone states comprising multiple cities, towns, and diverse residents. We chose the data points we did to "take the temperature" (as it were) of acceptance and inclusion in each state.

Hate crimes were the only crime metric considered, so this ranking doesn't reflect any state's crime rates or trends. Our goal is to give LGBTQ+ individuals and families a reference point to help locate states where it may be easier for them to live peacefully and productively, thanks to either inclusive legislation and policies or the absence of legislation and policies that limit the rights and perceived safety and freedom of LGBTQ+ individuals.

LGBTQ-friendliness by state

Safety rank
State
Bills introduced
Bills passed
Bills defeated
Hate crimes
LGBTQ population Icon Tooltip  Dark
Cost of living index
Lifestyle rank
1Delaware00024.5%101.11
2New Mexico20074.5%94.03
3Hawaii100024.6%180.317
4Arkansas20033.3%89.02
5Nevada000205.5%101.011
6Alaska70013.7%125.215
7 (tie)Vermont100115.2%115.320
7 (tie)Indiana505324.5%91.04
9New Hampshire1601104.7%114.125
10 (tie)Rhode Island60024.5%110.728
10 (tie)South Dakota10153.0%92.410
10 (tie)Nebraska404153.8%90.97
10 (tie)Colorado000904.6%105.132
14 (tie)Louisiana303113.9%91.05
14 (tie)Maine202254.9%109.922
16California0004595.3%138.544
17Texas0001494.1%92.713
18Washington5051195.2%11635
19New York0001415.1%125.942
20 (tie)Connecticut000163.9%112.839
20 (tie)Oregon303695.6%114.735
22West Virginia2912784.0%87.76
23Idaho135872.8%98.628
24 (tie)Mississippi2011763.5%86.39
24 (tie)Massachusetts2001025.4%146.548
26Illinois600714.3%92.114
27Montana00022.9%102.939
28Pennsylvania312474.1%95.618 (tie)
29 (tie)North Dakota00012.7%94.618 (tie)
29 (tie)Maryland202324.2%116.541
29 (tie)Utah1064343.7%103.245
32Ohio710944.3%94.715
33 (tie)Oklahoma54045133.8%86.28
33 (tie)Georgia14013314.5%90.821
35Wisconsin14014303.8%95.125
36Kansas16115143.3%87.112
37South Carolina321093.5%95.334
38Wyoming1221093.3%92.427
39Minnesota1800394.1%94.133
40Arizona1100444.5%108.446
41Tennessee4082583.5%90.330
42North Carolina500514.0%95.342
43Michigan900764.0%90.622
44Florida14111424.6%100.747
45Virginia11010433.9%101.948
46Alabama413223.1%88.324
47New Jersey8002024.1%113.950
48Iowa37433193.6%90.331
49Kentucky14014323.4%92.038
50Missouri3900323.8%88.535

"Bills introduced" includes all active anti-LGBTQ+ bills in state legislatures from January 1, 2024 through May 31, 2024, including newly-introduced bills, bills that are currently advancing, bills that have passed, and bills that have been defeated. Hate crimes include incidents against LGBTQ+ individuals reported to the FBI in 2022, the most recent year for which data is available. The "Lifestyle rank" is a Move.org score that considers both LGBTQ+ safety data points and cost of living data points, including average home and rent prices as of May 31, 2024.

Sources

  1. Zillow.com, "Housing Data," Accessed June 2024.
  2. Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, "Cost of Living Data Series," Accessed June 2024.
  3. ACLU, "Mapping Attacks on LGBTQ Rights 2024," Accessed June 2024.
  4. US Census, "Explore Census Data," Accessed June 2024.
  5. Movement Advancement Project, "Snapshot: LGBTQ Equality by State," Accessed June 2024.
  6. Ballotpedia, "Governor State Executive Office," Accessed June 2024.
  7. Ballotpedia, "List of United States Legislatures," Accessed June 2024.
  8. FBI, "Crime Data Explorer," Accessed June 2024.

Rebecca Edwards
Written by
Rebecca Edwards
Rebecca has been a journalist and blogger for over 30 years, with a focus on home services and tech for the past decade. Rebecca has moved over 15 times across towns, states, and the country. You can find her expert advice and analysis in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, NPR, HGTV, MSN, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, and an ever-growing library of radio, podcast, and TV clips. She’s also the lead reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.