Gallup Special Report: New Estimates of the LGBT Population in the United States

By Gary J. Gates, Frank Newport
February 2013

The percentage of adults in the United States who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) ranges from 1.7% in North Dakota to 5.1% in Hawaii and 10% in the District of Columbia, according to findings from a new study released by Williams Institute Distinguished Scholar, Gary J. Gates, and Gallup Editor-in-Chief, Frank Newport. The study is the largest population-based survey ever conducted that includes measurement of LGBT identification.

While LGBT communities are clearly present in every state in the union, their visibility is generally higher in states with greater levels of social acceptance and LGBT supportive legal climates. With the exception of South Dakota, each of the states with populations 4 percent and over has laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. These states have also taken steps toward more LBGT equality by recognizing same-sex marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships. Iowa is the only state among those with the lowest LGBT populations to extend similar rights. In fact, six of the ten states with the lowest LGBT populations are among the most conservative states in the country.

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Percentage of LGBT Population, by state (Source: Gallup, 2013)