Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Tolerance towards LGBT+ people seen rising globally

Participants attend the KharkivPride march in support of the LGBT community in Kharkiv, Ukraine September 15, 2019. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich - RC1631110B30

Iceland was named as the world's most tolerant country. Image: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Sonia Elks
Journalist, Reuters
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Education, Gender and Work is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Education, Gender and Work

LGBT+ people have seen a rise in tolerance in almost every region of the world over the last decade, according to an index released on Monday.

Iceland was named as the most tolerant country towards LGBT+ people in a survey of 167 countries by British think-tank the Legatum Institute, while central Asian country Tajikistan was in last place.

"It is encouraging to see that our 2019 Prosperity Index shows a rise in tolerance towards the LGBT community globally over the past decade," Shaun Flanagan of the institute's Centre for Metrics told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Have you read?

"However, the LGBT community, as well as other often marginalised groups, such as immigrants, ethnic minorities and religious groups, still face considerable persecution across certain parts of the world today."

The data is part of the 2019 Legatum Prosperity Index, which measures a host of factors affecting countries' ability to create wealth and wellbeing, ranging from investment environment to health and personal freedom.

Social tolerance towards minority groups increased in 111 of 167 countries over the last decade, and across every region except for Eastern Europe & Sub-Saharan Africa, it found.

The rise in acceptance of LGBT+ people was particularly marked, rising from about one in four people expressing acceptance a decade ago to almost a third in the latest report.

Tolerance towards LGBT+ people was measured according to responses to a Gallup poll that asked more than 130,000 people around the world whether their city or area was a good place for gay and lesbian people to live.

Top-ranking Iceland was followed by The Netherlands and Norway in the 2019 index, while Canada and Denmark took fourth and fifth place respectively.

Several of the least tolerant countries criminalise homosexuality, with penalties including a potential death sentence for men in Mauritania and Somalia, both in the bottom five.

However, legality did not always equal acceptance - lowest-ranked Tajikistan decriminalised gay sex in 1998 but LGBT+ people still face widespread discrimination.

It was followed by Somalia, Azerbaijan, Senegal and Mauritania in second to fourth last place respectively.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Pay transparency and pay gap reporting may be rising but how effective are they?

Tom Heys and Emanuela Nespoli

May 29, 2024


About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum