Hillcrest is San Diego’s gay neighborhood, right? Think again: For women, not so much.
Census data suggests that if you live in the little East County town of Alpine, you’re just as likely to have an unmarried lesbian couple living next door as in Hillcrest. And Alpine has plenty of company on the list of unexpected local communities where lesbians seem to be more common than in the county as a whole.
When the census data is mapped, you can see a divide that may surprise those who assume Hillcrest is the local gay mecca: Lesbian couples are much more widely distributed around the county than their gay male counterparts, who tend to cluster in and around the progressive haven of Hillcrest.
This gap is familiar to researchers, though. Gay men tend to prefer living in hip urban centers, while lesbians — who are more likely to have kids and therefore less money — are less concentrated in “gayborhoods.”
As San Diego’s Pride Weekend begins, here is more on what the census numbers reveal and why anyone other than real-estate agents should care where gay couples and families like to live.
Why does it matter where gay people live?
For one thing, it affects politics — the heavy LGBT presence in San Diego’s Council District 3 gives the gay community a larger voice in city politics. The district has been represented by gay politicians on the Council since 1993 — two women and two men. If a “gayborhood” like Hillcrest becomes more straight, as seems to be happening to gay neighborhoods in some major cities, it can affect the local political power structure.