Research shows link between affluence and LGBT-acceptance

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A country’s wealth is a strong indicator of its level of LGBT-acceptance, research recently published shows. The Pew Research survey of populations in 39 countries highlights the fact that people in developed economies worldwide were far more likely to believe that society should “accept homosexuality.” 

North America and Europe are the two continents with the highest rates of acceptance.

“I can’t think of any question we have asked where we have this sort of polarization. In North America, Europe and several countries in Latin America, we have a really high acceptance of homosexuality. In predominantly Muslim nations and in sub-Saharan Africa, we have equally widespread views on the other side,” Pew researcher Juliana Horowitz told USA Today. 

80 percent of Canadians said LGBT issues should be accepted, while 60 percent of Americans agreed. Both countries have seen an increase of over ten percentage points since the last study was carried out by Pew in 2007. 

A similar picture is seen in Europe. Nations such as Spain and Germany have close to 90 percent approval ratings. Countries within the European Union with less developed economies, for example Greece and Poland, show far lower acceptance levels. 

However, France is the place which has seen the highest drop in acceptance since 2007. This result comes following the country’s recent legalization of marriage equality, despite considerable protests. 

Africa is by far the continent that is least tolerant of LGBT issues. South Africa is the only nation surveyed there which shows an approval rating of greater than 30 percent. The starkest figures come from Nigeria where 98 percent of the population believe that society shouldn’t accept homosexuality. 

The study does indicate that other factors such as religion, age and gender have a bearing on LGBT-acceptance also. Countries where religion is very prevalent rank lower on tolerance, with Brazil and the Philippines being notable exceptions. 

Most nations did not observe a major difference of views between men and women. However, when they did differ, women were shown to be consistently more LGBT-tolerant.

The final influencing factor being studied was age. Those aged over 50 across all countries had less positive views of homosexuality than their younger counterparts. 

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