3.4% of Americans identify as LGBT According to Largest Data Sample Ever Collected of LGBT Men and Women
For Immediate Distribution
October 18, 2012
Contact: Laura Rodriguez, email@example.com, (310) 956-2425
LGBT identity highest among non-White, younger individuals, and those with less education
A new Gallup Special Report co-authored by Williams Distinguished Scholar Gary J. Gates and Gallup Editor-in-chief Frank Newport finds that 3.4% of U.S. adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), with the highest incidence among those who are non-white, younger, and less educated.
The findings are based on the largest representative sample of LGBT men and women ever collected. Unlike Census data, which looks only at same-sex couples, Gallup collected data based on more than 120,000 interviews of adults in the US.
Study author Gates notes “This report not only confirms the validity of prior estimates of the size of the LGBT population, but also provides new insight into the diversity within the LGBT community. It will dramatically increase our understanding of the lives and views of LGBT Americans, and I congratulate Gallup for adding this important question to their tracking poll.”
This is the first of several reports that will analyze data collected as part of Gallup’s daily tracking survey where respondents are asked if they personally identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Key findings in this first Special Report include:
Non-white Americans more likely to identify as LGBT
African-Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities are more likely than white Americans to identify as LGBT. The results show that 4.6% of African-Americans identify as LGBT along with 4.0% of Hispanics and 4.3% of Asians. Among white Americans, the figure was 3.2%.
Younger Americans three times more likely than seniors to identify as LGBT
Younger Americans (age 18-29) are more than three times as likely as seniors aged 65 and older to identify as LGBT (6.4% v. 1.9%, respectively). Among those aged 30 to 64, LGBT identity declines with age — at 3.2% for 30- to 49-year-olds and 2.6% for 50- to 64-year-olds.
A larger portion of lower educated Americans identify as LGBT compared to college graduates
Contrary to many studies using smaller data samples, Americans with lower levels of education are more likely than their higher educated counterparts to identify as LGBT. Among those with a high school education or less, 3.5% identify as LGBT compared to 2.8% of those with a college degree and 3.2% of those with a graduate education. LGBT identification is highest among those with some college education but not a college degree, at 4.0%.
LGBT women are as likely as non-LGBT women to be raising children
The analyses also show that raising children under age 18 in the home is as common among LGBT women as it is among non-LGBT women. In both groups, about a third had children. That was also true of non-LGBT men. Just 16% of them were raising a child in their home.
“These findings offer new and compelling evidence of the diversity and complexity of the LGBT community in the US. They offer an unprecedented resource for informing LGBT-related debates like those regarding marriage, parenting, and workplace discrimination with much-needed facts rather than stereotype or anecdote,” says Gates.