Gallup Special Report: The U.S. Adult LGBT Population

By Gary J. Gates, Frank Newport
October 2012

A special Gallup report 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. 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 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.

Click here for the full analysis.

Click here for the press release.