Most Liberal Cities 2019

Liberalism is both a political and moral philosophy based on protecting and enhancing individual freedom. Liberalism focuses on liberty, consent of the governed, and equality before the law, placing a greater value on social justice, ensuring access to healthcare, regulating economic activity, and social equality.

According to Tausanovitch and Warshaw’s “Representation in Municipal Government,” liberal cities collect more taxes per capita than conservative cities. Additionally, the most liberal cities spend over twice as much per capita as the most conservative cities.

This same research shows that big cities tend to be more liberal, including cities in “red states,” or conservative states. Cities such as Atlanta ( Georgia), Austin ( Texas), and New Orleans ( Louisiana) are all examples of liberal cities in conservative states.

The top twenty most liberal cities in the United States are:

  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. Washington, DC
  3. Seattle, WA
  4. Oakland, CA
  5. Boston, MA
  6. Minneapolis, MN
  7. Detroit, MI
  8. New York City, NY
  9. Buffalo, NY
  10. Baltimore, MD
  11. Chicago, IL
  12. Portland, OR
  13. St. Paul, MN
  14. Austin, TX
  15. St. Louis, MO
  16. Philadelphia, PA
  17. New Orleans, LA
  18. Los Angeles, CA
  19. Pittsburgh PA
  20. Denver, CO

San Francisco, California is the most liberal city in the United States. “San Francisco values” is a term used negatively by conservatives to describe the cultural, social, and moral attributes associated with San Francisco’s progressive and liberal politics. San Francisco’s liberalism is attributed to its demographics, which include a large population of people with higher education (bachelor’s degree or above) and diverse racial groups that tend to vote democratic.

Washington D.C. is the second most liberal city in the United States. Washington D.C. has one of the largest LGBTQ populations in the nation and has a strong history of minority activism. The smallest margin victory for a Democratic presidential candidate was 57%. In the most recent presidential election, 91% of Washington D.C. voted Democratic, and only 4% voted Republican (an 87% margin).

While big cities (populations over 250,000) tend to lean liberal, there are several conservative-leaning big cities as well.