World

Perceived Acceptance of Homosexuals Differs Around Globe

by Nicole Naurath

Acceptance most likely in Americas, least likely in Africa

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As gays and lesbians seek rights and acceptance around the world, Gallup surveys conducted in 113 countries find most people unlikely to say the city or area in which they live is a good place for gays and lesbians to live. Across the globe, a median of 24% say the area in which they live is a good place for homosexuals, while a median of 50% feel it is not a good place. The results vary widely by region, with acceptance most likely in the Americas and least likely in Africa.

In Africa, a median of just 8% say the city or area in which they live is a good place for homosexuals, while a median of 77% feel it is not a good place. These responses likely reflect that homosexual acts are illegal in many African countries, with punishments ranging from several years of imprisonment to death. However, it is the opposite in South Africa, considered to be among the more progressive countries in the world on this topic not only because it outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation in its constitution in 1996, but also because same-sex marriages became legal there in late 2006. In South Africa, 31% of respondents say their city or area is a good place for gays and lesbians, the highest perceived acceptance on the African continent, but still relatively low compared with other countries. Even though homosexual acts are illegal in their country, 26% of Batswana say their cities and areas are good places for homosexuals, sentiment roughly on par with their neighbors in South Africa.

In the Americas, which includes North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean, near parity exists in the median response rate for those who feel their city or area is a good place for gays and lesbians to live (42%) and those who feel it is not a good place (48%). Canada, one of just five countries in the world in which same-sex marriages are legal, reports the highest perceived acceptance: 75% of Canadians say their city or area is a good place for homosexuals to live. Contrary to the traditional view of Latin America as a highly religious, highly conservative region, several Latin American countries also show relatively high perceived acceptance, which is perhaps reflected in the progressive laws and reforms allowing same-sex unions that are being passed and considered at the local and federal level. The countries in the Americas with the least perceived acceptance are found in the Caribbean and include Trinidad and Tobago (17%), Haiti (13%), and Jamaica (6%).

Europeans show relatively high acceptance for gays and lesbians with a regional median response of 32%. Although this is lower than the median response in the Americas (42%), fewer Europeans (29% median) than respondents in the Americas (48% median) call their city or area a poor place for homosexuals to live. Of all regions, Europe has the highest median percentage of respondents who say they do not know whether their community is a good place or not a good place for homosexuals (26%). Three of the five countries in the world that allow same-sex marriages -- the Netherlands (83%), Spain (79%), and Belgium (66%) -- post acceptance scores that are among the highest in the world. Southeast Europeans (15% median for this sub-region) are the least likely in Europe to say their communities are good places for homosexuals, and several countries and areas in this sub-region post scores in the single digits, such as Albania (7%) and Kosovo (6%).

The median response in Asia matches the worldwide median response of 24%. New Zealand (70%) and Australia (67%) stand out in the region as having the highest perceived acceptance of gays and lesbians, while three-quarters of Palestinians (79%), Armenians (75%), and Malaysians (74%) say the city or area in which they live is not a good place for homosexuals to live.

Wellbeing

Several of the countries with the highest Well-Being Index scores are also some of the countries with the highest acceptance of gays and lesbians among the countries surveyed.

Conversely, several of those countries with the lowest Well-Being Index scores are also some of the countries with lowest acceptance for gays and lesbians.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews conducted from 2005 to 2007. Randomly selected sample sizes typically number 1,000 residents, aged 15 and older, in the countries polled. For results based on samples of this size, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is ±3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.


Country

Good
place

Not a
good
place

(DK)

(Refused)

%

%

%

%

Netherlands

83

9

8

0

Spain

79

12

10

0

Canada

75

16

8

1

Uruguay

71

19

9

1

New Zealand

70

10

20

0

Denmark

70

11

19

0

Sweden

68

10

21

0

Australia

67

10

21

1

Belgium

66

10

24

0

United States

65

26

8

1

United Kingdom

64

10

26

0

France

63

11

26

1

Ireland

62

18

19

0

Norway

58

15

27

0

Switzerland

56

20

24

0

Hong Kong

56

35

9

0

Germany

55

18

26

1

Cuba

54

20

25

--

Puerto Rico

54

31

15

1

Finland

54

20

26

--

Nicaragua

52

38

9

1

Italy

51

26

23

0

Philippines

51

41

8

0

Argentina

51

32

16

1

Colombia

47

43

9

1

Chile

47

42

10

1

Mexico

47

39

14

0

Brazil

46

35

18

0

Guatemala

44

48

7

1

Venezuela

42

48

8

1

Czech Republic

40

25

32

3

Panama

40

46

13

1

Nepal

39

29

30

2

Portugal

36

30

33

1

Honduras

35

56

8

0

Singapore

35

44

21

1

Austria

34

29

36

1

Greece

34

48

17

1

Laos

34

53

11

2

Latvia

33

33

30

4

El Salvador

33

53

14

0

Hungary

32

20

47

1

Costa Rica

32

53

15

1

South Africa

31

44

24

1

Taiwan

31

49

20

0

Ecuador

31

63

6

0

Thailand

30

51

17

2

Paraguay

30

49

21

0

Slovenia

29

49

21

1

Peru

29

52

15

3

Cyprus

29

49

17

5

Israel

27

56

15

2

Bolivia

27

52

19

2

Botswana

26

59

14

0

Bulgaria

26

27

45

3

Lebanon

25

64

10

1

Slovakia

24

37

35

3

Turkey

24

57

16

3

Lithuania

24

35

39

2

Dominican Republic

24

66

10

1

Estonia

23

24

50

3

Poland

23

50

26

0

Cambodia

23

62

15

0

Croatia

23

53

23

2

Serbia

22

55

20

3

Romania

19

49

30

3

Moldova

18

48

30

4

Trinidad & Tobago

17

68

14

1

Benin

17

67

14

2

Belarus

17

24

55

3

Angola

16

49

27

7

Russia

15

32

50

3

Montenegro

15

64

19

2

South Korea

15

54

31

0

Sierra Leone

15

83

2

--

Macedonia

15

73

11

2

Ukraine

14

33

46

6

Chad

14

75

8

3

Burundi

14

67

17

2

Haiti

13

67

17

2

Mali

13

78

8

1

Nigeria

12

72

16

0

Bosnia & Herzegovina

10

70

17

3

Malaysia

10

74

12

4

Rwanda

10

67

22

0

Sri Lanka

9

30

39

22

Togo

9

83

8

0

Ghana

9

79

12

0

Ethiopia

9

51

31

9

Mozambique

8

85

7

0

Burkina Faso

8

77

12

3

Malawi

8

87

5

0

Niger

7

90

3

0

Palestine

7

79

10

3

Cameroon

7

84

8

0

Albania

7

54

30

9

Zambia

7

80

12

1

Senegal

6

76

12

6

Jamaica

6

70

23

1

Madagascar

6

84

7

3

Kyrgyzstan

6

70

23

1

Vietnam

6

67

26

1

Kosovo

6

66

22

6

Armenia

6

75

16

3

Kenya

6

69

24

1

Tanzania

5

60

24

10

Georgia

5

63

26

6

Indonesia

5

71

20

5

Afghanistan

5

56

14

25

Uganda

5

75

19

2

Mauritania

4

94

2

0

Zimbabwe

3

92

5

--

Azerbaijan

2

47

34

17

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