LGBT Percentages Highest in Washington, DC, and Hawaii

For Immediate Distribution
February 15, 2013

Contact: Laura Rodriguez,, (310) 956-2425

Unprecedented study estimates LGBT population in every state in the nation

LOS ANGELES— 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. Most states are within 2 percentage points of the nationwide average of 3.5%.

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, according to the new study.

Gates said of the study, “These new first-of-their-kind estimates of the percentage of adults who self-identify as LGBT in all 50 states and the District of Columbia constitute a significant advancement in our understanding of the LGBT population.” More than 206,000 adult Americans were surveyed for this study so that 41 of the 50 states have underlying samples exceeding 1,000.

The study found that states with proportionally larger LGBT populations tend to have supportive LGBT 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.

Click here for the report page.


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