Why Are So Many Big Cities In The United States – Liberal?

Overall, the liberal tilt of big cities is unmistakable. Even cities with conservative reputations (such as Dallas, Santa Ana, Calif. and Cincinnati) are politically left-of-center, if only slightly.

The most liberal cities include (as expected) San Francisco, Washington D.C., Seattle, Oakland and Boston while the most conservative cities include Mesa, Ariz., Oklahoma City, Virginia Beach and Colorado Springs.

(for a more detailed list, see below)

Big cities in the U.S. tend toward the liberal side of the political spectrum. With cities of 250,000 or more, nearly every one of them ‘leans left’. The question is, “Why?”

According to a 2014 study which appeared in the American Political Science Review by MIT and the University of California at Los Angeles (reported by economist.com), it confirms the conventional wisdom that most big cities swing liberal. Why is that?

Seriously – Why are ‘the cities’ much more liberal than elsewhere?
I have opinions – but lets hear yours…

Similar Posts


Affirm you're human... not a Bot

Sort by Oldest First
Sort by Newest First Sort by Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I believe the biggest reason can be centered around how you view your ability to take care of yourself and your family. Let me explain.

Those of us that live in the country tend to have gardens or even farms. Country folks are better educated and skilled, if you will, to fish, hunt, garden, find their way home using the stars, etc.

Now I’m painting a broad brush, but I would say I’m pretty close. Therefore, those in the big cities have a mindset of depending on others for basic needs and the politicians take advantage of that mindset with plenty of promises to stay in office.

Think about public transportation in the big cities. Again, the public relying on the government for the necessity of getting to point A to point B.

In the country, you drive, bike or walk, it’s all on you.
It all revolves around self reliance.

That explanation gets it right.

Self reliance breeds personal responsibility.

Large cities require more ‘group thought’ and more WE NEED more than I THINK.

Good point about self reliance. There are too many people and not enough land in cities for people to be totally self reliant.

So goods and services have to be organized to support such a high density of people and businesses. Who is going to do the organization? The government, of course.

So people depend on the government to keep a highly complex system running and to provide order to everyday interactions. You can’t have everyone running around with guns and doing whatever their libertarian heart desires or you would have absolute chaos.

This may work in a low density rural area, but not so good when you are separated from your neighbor(s) by only a 2×4 wall. Yes, they may have given up some of their autonomy to live in such a complex society, but they are not mindless robots as some of the people on this site seem to think.

I grew up in a rural area and moved to the urban area. You can’t run Atlanta the same way you would run a rural area in Georgia. It just wouldn’t work.

Surrendering some of your libertarian behaviors is necessary to live in a place that has lots of amenities and lots of GOOD jobs. That is why most people are in cities, not because they are mindless liberals.

I disagree. Cities can become more conservative with less government programs and more private small firms that do the same job. Each citizen is tasked by their own volition to take care of others and the city. This would consolidate the self reliance.

A few random thoughts.
Libertarians believe that they should rely primarily on themselves, their family, and groups they are involved with. Liberals think they shouldn’t need to be self reliant, that society is responsible for their wellbeing.
Libertarians want to work for their salary and not expect others to support them. Liberals feel that if they don’t want to work, they shouldn’t have to.
Libertarians choose a school they can afford, and a course of study that will lead to a profitable job. Liberals feel that education should be “free”, and if their chosen profession is unlikely to result in a living wage, it’s not their fault, someone needs to support them.
Yet Libertarians are considered less intelligent, and their position on issues called simplistic by the Liberal elites.
Liberalism is a one way trip to societal collapse because it is counter to evolutionary principals. Eventually they run out of other peoples’ money.

My theory is that the farther one is from the source and pains of ones sustenance the more liberal one becomes.

Cities and college age students are my basic examples. College age students live in a artificial bubble where consequences are mild and in many cases sustenance is provided.

One can satisfy ones emotional whims and conflicts without seeing the direct consequence, someone else picks up the tab.

Same is true in cities. What major metro area could ever survive on its own without the support of the surrounding rural and suburban tax base and infrastructure.

For college students I love to see the transformation to more conservative ideals when graduate and have to work and support their own family. For cities, unfortunately, no one makes them grow up.

No major metro area will survive in a SHTF scenario because “mom and dad” rural support will be gone.

I agree with this, however I’d like to add one thought. Nowadays the college graduates are likely to *not* marry and raise a family. So they’re not as likely to gain that conservative perspective. So the young generation I expect will trend even more liberal.

Public transportation and easy access to free shit.



The big cities have large minority populations. The Democrats (liberals) have been convincing minorities that the left is on their side ever since the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Throughout history, the Democrats were the segregationists and the Republicans were the abolitionists/civil rights advocates. Lyndon Johnson and most of the other Democrats filibustered the civil rights act that President Eisenhower tried to get passed in the 1950’s. But then the make up of the Senate changed in 1959. (Four new Senators, all pro civil rights) and so the Republicans and northern Democrats had a filibuster-proof majority.

So President Johnson changed his spots. He pushed through the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Most of the Senators and Representatives who voted for it were Republicans and most of the Senators and Representatives who voted against it were Democrats. But one exception was the Republican nominee for President — Barry Goldwater.

Then Johnson passed his welfare programs that locked minorities into perpetual government dependence, saying as he signed, “We’ll have those N******s voting for us for the next 200 years.”

Nixon made it worse a few years later with his “southern strategy.”

So minorities live in big cities and minorities are liberal. The liberals do nothing for them; they don’t have to; they have their votes without working for them.

BTW: In case you didn’t know — those 4 new Senators were from the new states of Alaska and Hawaii, states that had large minority populations.

Excellent points, and I think bringing race into the discussion is important if we’re to understand how the left has been so successful.

Frankly, speaking – the left has been doing a bang-up job playing on and dividing society with the “emotion” of issues like race.

Why people across society (Baltimore/Detroit) aren’t awake to this by now is beyond comprehension…

Blacks have been complaining about the same things for over 50 years, but keep voting for the same crowd that promises to fix them but never delivers. Maybe Johnson was right. Blacks are not very smart.

@DaisyK… Well said facts without the underpinnungs of their -Johnson and prior powers of Congress -true agendas. Criminals; the lot of them. No different than today,,, o…

Have to add to that that also corporate socialism leverage itself by bribing politicians for favors like “pay to play” effectively setting up mono-oligopolies against competitive free markets, sportsmanship and survival of the fittest. There is no true capitalism only corporate and non corporate socialism

These cities are liberal today because the left has waged the long war against conservatism for the past 60+ years across multiple fronts – Since post WWII and the Cold War Era.

It’s been their hidden agenda and war of subversion to conquer the US from within.

The conservative right has been asleep for most of this time and unwilling to play hardball across multiple topics that the left has positioned themselves as “trusted experts” in society, i.e. Abortion, LBGT, Hollywood, Art/Museums, the Court Systems, and the Media to name just a few.

And for any agenda that has appealed to one or more of the left, they’ve flocked to these cities to be with their own ilk. After all, birds of a feather flock together.

I think the tipping point for many of these cities was during the 80’s and 90’s when activism grew bolder and more powerful with the left. And, as leftism matured and become further embedded, Generation X grew older and positioned themselves in key roles across converted cities.

For what it is worth, I think that the left ultimately desires to NEVER be confronted with shame, humility, guilt, embarrassment, and worst of all – accountability…

I do think there is a religious tie-in to this topic, but I’ll digress and say it isn’t limited to the left and that there’s lots of evil right now as the devil is having his way across American cities…

The welfare system , has instilled a lot of people to live in projects which are in the cities , convenient to public services , such as hospitals , police departments , and just about everything else , a lot of it is just the they give me what I want , so I will vote for whoever gives me stuff , just to keep them in office so I can continue to get what I want ! It is like a large collective , which is what the socialists push for . Be prepared and ready . Keep your powder dry .

In my 62 years of life I have found these two observations

Liberals/Socialist/Communist/Democrats tend to be lazy, loud-mouthed, ungrateful, under educated (as far as self-reliance) and basically want everything handed to them because they are “owed” a life and living.

Conservatives/Traditionalist/Republicans tend to be aggressive-workers, soft-spoken, appreciative, more willing to share, are more adventurist, are basically more independent and are willing to “take care of themselves”.

The cities are a much easier lifestyle, 99% of everything you would need is within a block or two. Public Housing is readily available for the asking, food-stamp/welfare/medical/free-transportation/utility-assistance/FREE-Obama-Phones, the list is endless. If you live in the city, you will spend 50% of your time watching your “6” trying not to get shot or killed going to the local restaurant.

The Country/Rural lifestyle is much harder physically (get a liberal to cut and chop that 5 cords of firewood) or actually build their own home/barn/garage, most in the country grow/can/preserve/freeze/and ACTUALLY-COOK their own food.


Good Observation

Well, I can’t answer why large cities tend to lean liberal, but I can give my two cents as to why Jacksonville, Florida, and Virginia Beach, Virginia possibly buck that trend.

Hint: It’s in my username.

Both cities have strong military ties (or at least they did when I lived there as a child), with multiple bases in the city and/or region. And, especially in the case of Jacksonville, lots of service members that stick around after leaving or retiring.

Excellent point!

Basic answer is the difference between urban culture and the outlier, rural culture.

Our culture defines us and there are growing clashes between the urban and rural cultures in the US.

Entitlement, dependency, religion, political ideology are factors that influence our cultures.

We have become a country that ‘trusts’ the words of intellectuals, not hands-on, experienced working people. The American-thinktank is a code word for Progressivism.

We are not a nation of one culture anymore. We are divided and about to fall.

Great answer

USA will become The Balkans on steroids. Pretty much any time now, won’t take much of a spark.

Is the question why are big cities liberal or is it HOW did it come about that big cities are liberal?

I think how it happened is to look at the human heart–is it motivated by power, greed, neediness or by love, self-sacrifice and delayed gratification?

People in the latter group will prefer spending time helping others or with their families–after putting in most of their day working to provide for their families.

Time after work is precious and it speaks volumes about how a person uses that time.

To the working group, it would be a huge sacrifice to give some of that time to politics. To the former group, it would satisfy a huge ego need to be a part of a system that exists trying to figure out even more ways to tell other people how to spend their time/lives.

Let me preface my comment with a disclaimer.

No doubt there are many capable and valuable Americans which live in or near large US cities (mostly due to making a living),,,,,,,, OK?

To me, this one is simple.

The reason can be stated as such,,,,,,,

The further you get away from major metropolitan areas the more self sufficient people are (by choice). There I said it.

It’s much easier to live as a parasite in these areas because the goodies are condensed. Also, easier to keep people in power who will prolong the gravy train (all to do with helping of course).

An example:

Look at an electoral map of California (red counties vote conservative, blue counties vote socialism).

At first glance you wouldn’t be able to imagine California’s bent on Leftism, but sadly Peking, China is now more friendly to business.

Most of Cali is right-leaning. Large cesspools like L.A. and San Fransicko drag the rest down.

It’s where the biggest hand outs are!!!

When large groups of people come together it usually ends in catastrophe. IE: corporate committees, Government, education, etc.

People begin to think alike leading to a lack of ideas. Social acceptance becomes priority.

Group think begins lead by the weakest and loudest leaders. Leaders gain power through marketing rather than skill sets.

Community organizers gain control rather than blacksmiths.

Society becomes totally dependent on outside vendors (food). Instead of growing food, citizens waste hours outside stores to get the latest computer gadget.

A bubble of false reality emerges sweeping through the society like fire through the influence of ones surroundings. Life becomes cheap, and consumerism explodes as biblical morals vanish.

Some people work for a living and other people vote liberal for a living. The rich people are still doing well and the welfare and food stamp people are doing good also but the working poor people keep getting poorer. I once was middle class but since I retired I feel like I fell to the bottom.

Hey ‘hogdog’ –

You hit the nail right on the head. My God,,,,,,,,,,,,,

This thought process (indoctrination) that allows people to believe their lot in life is due to the ‘Rich’ living off the backs of the poor is nauseating.

The fact is, the ‘Rich’ will always be rich. When pressured by ‘Leftists’ they pull back and invest less. The working poor suffer as a result.

Look it up, the working poor make enough to restrict their abilities to become a parasite (by their choice, I might add). These people raise their families in a single wide and wouldn’t take a dime.

On the other hand, the parasites who make money by the pound,,,,, heck, let me have another kid by who?,,,, the 6th separate father. No matter, since ‘The One’s’ coronation in 2009 when he un-did Welfare reform it’s become big business again.

Many of these people make $80,000 grand a year (housing, welfare {by the pound}, food stamps, and only God knows what else. AND,,,, pay no taxes.

Now we have a principled family, suffering from the results of our ‘Shift’ towards a ‘Leftist’ society making maybe $50K a year living hand to mouth,,,,, and get this paying taxes.

Meanwhile, they spend their evenings at the dinner table (parasites don’t know what that means) are trying to reverse the BS their children learned in school that day.

GOD, PLEASE, help the principled people residing in this once great country.

Simple answer. The Democrats have long “catered” to their styled “Entitlement mentality” demographic, which are always located in the most densely populated areas. This is because that NUMBERS mean MORE Democrat Party Congressional seats in the US house of Representatives. This is precisely WHY, so many high density populated areas are under the stranglehold of the Socialist/Marxist/Prog/Liberal Plantation Party for Slaves.

The Slaves expect to receive “stuff” for their votes. They willingly trade their freedom for votes to keep the Democrats in office, and to keep the Entitlements flowing to their huge population of fatherless children, breeding mothers, public housing, and the Social Justice Reverends who slavishly feed from the Public trough of the Taxpayers. The Democrats truly understand what THEY are all about, and have no qualms about doing what they do. When you think of voter fraud, you automatically KNOW it is in Democratic Party controlled districts. The GOP still is about infighting and posturing in D.C. for the Party whores, and they have no “service” to their electorate.

Cheap transportation, they don’t have to go far to find drugs, welfare offices are close by, they can’t grow food,hunt do hard labor unless its in a close prison. Just a thought.

Because conservative values include the rugged individual living away from other people or surrounding themselves with like minded people.

These values are found in the less densely populated areas of the U.S. where one can shoot gophers in their front yard without getting arrested by the Police.

Republicans that live in the city are not there by choice and will move away from there as soon as they assemble the resources to move away.

I went to a big city in order to obtain my education. I left when I got a job offer in the country away from the city where i can shoot gophers in my lawn

it is called public proletarian unions seeking to preserve their Ponzi bankrupt schemes of public pension/health/retirement funds.

Public teacher’s unions brain washing the young with socialist crap, police/fire departments in the same boat, military pension as well, etc. etc.

and then you have the rich corporates bribing politicians for mono-oligopolies to protect themselves from competitive free markets, sportsmanship and survival of the fittest.

How to fix this infestation? severance packages for public pension/health/retirement plans, Medicare/Social Security recipients, Abolish the immigration act of 1964, Nixon souther strategy, Johnson welfare system, etc.

In other words the whole progressive agenda built for decades that lead the downfall of this nation.

The reason big cities promote liberalism is because density forces people to see poverty and social mobility every day. There are stark contrasts in lifestyle are visible right at your doorstep and long ago people who live in cities realized that it is more efficient and better for society to provide a safety blanket for the poor or underprivileged. In less dense areas targeted approaches, community outreach, volunteering, self-reliance and neglect of the poor can work to some extent. Lower cost of living, slower pace of life and Lower expectations and distance all allow for these more conservative approaches to work. In cities if you did this, many systems would collapse due to the greater need and proximity of these problems. Concentration of poor people can lead to violent crime, street begging, etc… One drunk guy named Larry in a small town can be managed. See the difference. The problem with this is that the rural urban divide in education/perspective/wealth has become so vast that it is difficult to see the other’s position. We can’t go on anecdotal evidence here. It is clear that from an economic historical perspective that regulation, taxation and redistribution of wealth is clearly a better way to run areas of high population density. I find this blog very interesting as someone who comes from a city. To read your perspectives. It saddens me that there isn’t a greater understanding of the plight of the poor in this country and that the very institutions that are designed to level the playing field and empower the poor Midwest and rural areas are being eroded by those same people by the election of conservatives. There is a strong will of self reliant people who have for generations created wealth through hard work in this country. Unfortunately, hard work isn’t enough in this technologically driven job market to bring back jobs and wealth. Without creating an infrastructure by which people can freely be creative and innovate and take risks, you will be chasing the bottom of the barrel jobs. If you deregulate everything, jobs will leave this country and will only return with machines. Liberal policies like basic income, taxation of super-elites who benefit from laymen, legalization of drugs, de-privatization of prisons, free education, subsidized food, free healthcare, signal and level the playing field allowing us to overcome the inequities of capitalism. A society works much better if the poor are looked after, police cost less, mental health is mitigated, teen pregnancies go down, drug users are enslaved and dragged through prison systems. One way or another society pays for these things, a prisoner costs 90,000 a year, probably more than you contribute to taxes every year. Measured collaborative and preventative approaches to social issues can mitigate costs down the line that may seem unavoidable. The Netherlands is closing prisons due to similar policies. Balance is key! America has always been a pioneering society, but unchecked conservatism has created so issues that need to be addressed! That’s why cities… Read more »

Sure! look at DETROIT, michigan.. fine example of this thinkin’.

I believe it is because of social shaming to be honest.

I live in a fairly large city, I went to college, I was not raised in a rural area, but I am still a conservative.

I continuously feel pressure from friends and family not to express conservative thoughts.

If I say, “stricter borders are needed” people call me a xenophobe, even though it has nothing to do with foreigners.
I just believe that if you cross illegally, you are a criminal.

If I say, “there are only two genders” people call me a genderist or say I am hateful. I am not hateful, I love people and I want them to be treated for psychological disorders, which will help them in the long term.

If I say, “we need to abolish abortion” people say I don’t believe in the woman’s right to choose. I believe in rights, and that includes the unborn human.

I believe because there are more people in the city, they can form a mob to suppress any form of conservative thought.

It is the “in” thing to be liberal, so it is socially acceptable to ignore what the conservative has to say, even if it is backed by facts and reason.

This mob-like mentality is so easy to observe as well, just go to FaceBook and scroll some. If someone says something conservative, they usually get bashed by the left. If someone says something liberal, they are brave or just constantly confirmed.

If you can see the ocean or a large body of water from your hometown, -(Detroit) (Chicago)- you will most likely catch a parasite disease, also known as liberalism/socialism/democrat. You should live at least 50 miles inland (minimum) to avoid this mind altering parasite. So far doctors have not found a cure.

because these people are ignorant and cant think for themselves

I believe big cities go liberal primarily for one reason: elected representatives are further removed from the people.

In the rural mid western town where I grew up, everybody knew the mayor, everybody knew everybody on the town committee and ran into them on a weekly basis. In our large cities, millions don’t even know who their representatives are, much less having opportunity to speak with them.

This paradigm provides opportunities for those who want to accrue power in the large cities to do so more easily than in small towns and rural areas. Modern day liberalism is primarily about powerful people in government telling the rest of us how to live. This, in my view is why large cities are so much more “liberal” than small towns and rural areas.