As Americans celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr., the ideals of tolerance and civil rights are once again highlighted. And while segregated schools and lunch counters may be things of the past, modern battles over female contraception and same-sex marriage have kept the boundaries and definition of civil liberties on the national stage.
In honor of the holiday, The Daily Beast sought to determine which urban centers are havens for tolerance. Where are diverse urban populations matched by high levels of acceptance and peaceful relations? To find out, we first limited the cities under consideration to those with a population greater than 250,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. From there, we considered three major categories:
• The number of reported hate crimes per 100,000 residents in 2010, according to the FBI, (weighted 25 percent).
• State-wide statistics on the scope of anti-discrimination laws, attitudes regarding same-sex marriage, according to projections by Columbia University professors, and religious tolerance, based on a Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life survey (weighted 25 percent).
• And the diversity of the urban population in terms of race, according to the Census; the number of same-sex couples per 1,000 households, based on research by Gary J. Gates of the Williams Institute at UCLA; and religion, according to the most recent statistics on adherents from the Association of Religion Data Archives (weighted 50 percent).