Follow breaking news @lgbtqnation

Gallup study reports that only 3.4% of Americans identify as LGBT

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A new study by the Gallup organization — posed to more than 120,000 U.S. adults thus far — shows that only 3.4 percent said “yes” when asked if they identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

The results are based on responses to the question, “Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender?” included in 121,290 Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted between June 1 and Sept. 30, 2012.

According to Gallup, the report is the largest single study of the distribution of the LGBT population in the U.S. on record.

But Gallup also acknowledged that due to “social stigma” which often leads to pervasive and widespread discrimination, many “closeted” respondents would likely not answer that question truthfully.

Exactly who makes up the LGBT community and how this group should be measured is a subject of some debate. Measuring sexual orientation and gender identity can be challenging since these concepts involve complex social and cultural patterns.

As a group still subject to social stigma, many of those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender may not be forthcoming about this identity when asked about it in a survey.

Therefore, it’s likely that some Americans in what is commonly referred to as “the closet” would not be included in the estimates derived from the Gallup interviews. Thus, the 3.4% estimate can best be represented as adult Americans who publicly identify themselves as part of the LGBT community when asked in a survey context.

Among the report’s findings were:

  • Non-white individuals are more likely to identify as LGBT: According to the survey, 4.6 percent of black respondents identified as LGBT, followed by 4.3 percent of Asians, 4 percent of Hispanics, and 3.2 percent of non-Hispanic whites.
  • Young Americans are more likely to identify as LGBT: 6.4 percent of those surveyed between the ages of 18-29 identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. For those 65 and older, that figure drops to 1.9 percent.
  • LGBT Americans continue to face obstacles both in school and in the workplace: 4 percent of those who didn’t finish college identified as LGBT; while 5 percent of those with incomes lower than $24,000 a year are LGBT.
  • LGBT women are just as likely as non-LGBT women to be raising children: both demographics clock in at 3.6 percent.
  • The East Coast is home to those most readily identifying as LGBT: 3.7 percent of respondents live there. 3.6 percent report living in the West, while 3.4 and 3.2 percent report living in the Midwest and South, respectively.

A 2011 study by the Williams Institute at UCLA’s School of Law estimated there were than 8 million adults in the U.S. who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual, comprising 3.5% of the adult population.

In its May 2011 annual Values and Beliefs poll, Gallup said that over half of Americans (52 percent) estimate that at least one in five Americans are gay or lesbian, including 35 percent who estimate that more than one in four are. Thirty percent put the figure at less than 15 percent.

Share this article with your friends and followers:

Archives: , ,

Filed under: LGBTQ Life

22 more reader comments:

  1. thats still a whopping 1/33. meh who am i kidding -_-

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 2:01pm
  2. That seems consistent with recent findings.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 2:02pm
  3. This has to be skewed. Not buying it! I call bullshit. This number is way too low.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 2:03pm
  4. This isn’t news… This has been known for a LONG time now o.O

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 2:04pm
  5. Trust me, there’s plenty more in denial.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 2:04pm
  6. That’s the reason we’re considered a Minority people… This isn’t brain surgery

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 2:05pm
  7. Where did they survey? I’m sure it will be lower in the South, and higher on the west coast and northwest.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 2:05pm
  8. 2-3% of the USA is LGBT… 10-15% of the WORLD is as well

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 2:05pm
  9. We are a minority, but the number of gays actually out there is higher than 3.4 percent, some are living in fear.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 2:07pm
  10. Corey Phoenix: Pretty sure Gallup always uses random sampling or cluster sampling. In other words, it’s the whole US

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 2:11pm
  11. I think this figure is fairly accurate. I definitely don’t think it’s 10% like the long-held belief has always been. It might be that high in particular cities, but when looking at the whole country, this makes sense.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 2:14pm
  12. Until everyone is out of the closet and the US Census asks about Sexual Orientation. We will never know the true number.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 2:16pm
  13. That’s a LIE! We are more than that.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 2:17pm
  14. I personally think that 25% of America identifies as lgbt . Tha 22% are closeted or just scared due to the social stigma

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 2:21pm
  15. There is still a lot of prejudice and discrimination against LGBT people, and the majority of LGBT people still will not openly identify themselves to strangers and public poll-takers.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 2:26pm
  16. Yes, there is a high percentage of people who lie…a lot.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 2:28pm
  17. there is more,u got people that wil never tell u theirgay or by so give up and leave us along !!!!!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 2:31pm
  18. The NUMBER (percentage) is IRRELEVANT. Equal justice and rights for ALL is worth fighting for whether it is “one in six” (1950s) or “one in 10″ (1970s) or “one in a thousand.”

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 2:33pm
  19. If you read the article you’ll see that older respondents are less likely to identify themselves as LGBT than younger ones. 6.4% of younger respondents identified themselves as LGBT. That’s probably closer to the real percentage than 3%. We may not reach 10% of the population, but in reality we’re closer to that number than to 3%.

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 4:29pm
  20. Does that count the homophobes? Considering science has proven homophobes have homosexual tenancies they are afraid to acct upon

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 4:33pm
  21. Who wants to set themselves up for a hate crime?

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 6:25pm
  22. I don’t like Gallup polls. I don’t think you can have a true scientific survey about a population unless everyone is open to participating. I really wish they would explain why they resort to random phone calls to poll people. Has anyone even met these people who took a Gallup poll?

    Posted on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 6:25pm