More than 5 million LGBT adults in the US are religious

A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that an estimated 5.3 million LGBT people in the U.S. say that religion is important to them, attend religious services, or both.

Researchers analyzed data from the Gallup Daily Tracking Survey to examine religiosity among LGBT adults. They found that demographic patterns in religiosity observed in the general population are also observed among LGBT adults. For instance, among LGBT adults, middle-aged and older adults, Black adults, and those living in the South are most likely to be religious.

“Our study shows that religion plays an important role in the lives of nearly half of all LGBT people in the country,” said lead author Kerith J. Conron, the Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar and Research Director at the Williams Institute. “Religious LGBT adults are socio-demographically diverse, live in every region and state, and participate in all religious denominations.”

Key Findings

  • Nearly half (47%) of LGBT adults in the U.S. are religious.
  • Among religious LGBT adults, there are an estimated 1.5 million Protestants, 1.3 million Roman Catholics, 131,000 Jews, 107,000 Mormons, and 106,000 who are Muslim. An estimated 1.3 million religious LGBT adults report belonging to another Christian religion, 425,000 identify with another non-Christian religion, and 437,000 are atheist/agnostic.
  • Middle-aged and older LGBT adults are more likely to be religious than younger adults.
    • Over half of LGBT adults ages 35 and up are religious: 51% of those ages 35 to 49, 56% of those ages 50 to 64, and 65% of those ages 65 and older.
    • About 40% of LGBT adults ages 18 to 34 are religious.
  • LGBT adults of color are more likely to be religious than white LGBT adults.
    • More than two-thirds (71%) of Black LGBT adults are religious.
    • More than half of Hawaiian/Asian Pacific Islander (61%), American Indian/Alaskan Native (57%), and Latino/a (57%) LGBT adults are religious, compared to 38% of white LGBT adults.
  • Over half (54%) of LGBT adults in the South are religious.

Read the report

October 8, 2020

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