Most anti-gay city? What Twitter shows about tolerance in America

A new analysis of millions of tweets found that residents of Buffalo, N.Y., used the most anti-gay language on Twitter. Tweets originating from Wyoming and Montana featured the fewest slurs and prejudicial language.

Richard Drew/AP/File
This file photo, shows a Twitter app on an iPhone screen, in New York, Oct. 18, 2013. The Wisconsin-based apartment website Adobo has scoured Twitter for use of derogatory language in an effort to map the United States' most – and least – tolerant states.

To help people decide which American cities and states to move to, a Madison, Wis.-based apartment hunting website, Abodo, has analyzed millions of tweets to try to determine which cities are most and least prejudiced.

Full report:

By tallying derogatory language used on Twitter by residents of US cities and states between June 2014 to December 2015, Adobo found that Louisiana residents used this type of language most often; 1,155 tweets featured a slur out of every 100,000, or 1 in 87 tweets. Nevada was second with 929, and then Texas with 925 such tweets for every 100,000. Maryland and Delaware fell close behind, with 895 and 812 respectively.

People tweeting the least derogatory language live in Wyoming (120), Montana (121), and Vermont (176), according to Abodo’s analysis.


The company, founded in 2012 by college graduates who were having a hard time finding an apartment in Madison, looked for tweets with at least one of 154 keywords. These included derogatory slurs, as well as more neutral terms, used to describe various groups, such as blacks, Asians, Hispanic/Latinos, Arabs and Muslims, women, gays and lesbians, transgender people, and the disabled.

Overall, the company analyzed 12 million tweets. It omitted states with fewer than 30 derogatory tweets over time period studied.

“When you’re searching for a place to call home, one of the most important aspects to consider is your compatibility with an area’s culture and values,” Abodo writes in its new analysis.

“In a nation as diverse as the United States, attitudes on a wide array of social issues can vary significantly from coast to coast, and Americans frequently choose to live near those who agree with them on important personal ideals,” the company said.

Racial slurs toward black people, including the N-word, were used most frequently in West Virginia, with 83.2 per 100,000 tweets containing these slurs. That was followed by Maryland and Louisiana, with 36.5 and 31.3 per 100,000, though those states also tweeted out the most neutral language, including “black people” and “African American,” with Maryland residents using these terms 125.7 times per 100,000 tweets.

“One positive sign is that, in absolute numbers, openly tweeting these anti-black slurs is an uncommon behavior,” Abodo wrote in its report. “Over the time span of June 2014 to December 2015, most U.S. states made tweets containing these slurs merely hundreds of times,” the company said.

Abodo’s findings jive with a 2015 study of Google searches for the N-word, which found high levels of searches in most parts of both West Virginia and Louisiana, though they were not necessarily motivated by racism, as The Washington Post pointed out.

Association between an Internet-Based Measure of Area Racism and Black Mortality, PLOS One
Proportion of Google queries containing the “N-word” by designated market area, 2004–2007.

Louisiana also ranked first in the country for usage of derogatory language against women and overweight people.

For homophobic sentiment, which the company says is more commonplace than slurs in other categories, Abodo didn’t included state-level data, but the most homophobic tweets came from Buffalo, N.Y. (168 per 100,000 tweets), followed by Arlington, Tex. (161), Riverside, Calif. (158), Fontana, Calf. (155), and Lincoln, Neb. (141).

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