PRINCETON, NJ — The percentage of U.S. adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) ranges from 1.7 percent in North Dakota to 5.1 percent in Hawaii, and 10 percent in the District of Columbia, according to a new study by Gallup.
These results are based on responses to the question, “Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender?” included in 206,186 Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted between June 1 and Dec. 30, 2012, and according to Gallup is the largest single study of the distribution of the LGBT population in the U.S. on record.
From a broad perspective, the variation in the percentage of adults across U.S. states who identify themselves as LGBT is relatively small, reported Gallup, and all states were within a couple of percentage points of the overall LGBT national average of 3.5 percent.
According to Gallup, the variation does provide insight into LGBT identification and its possible relationship to the ideological and legal climate in different states.
States with high LGBT percentages tend to be more liberal and have more supportive LGBT legal climates, while those at the lower end of the LGBT spectrum are generally the most conservative.
Gallup researchers said this suggests that one explanation for the variation across states is the relationship between the willingness to disclose LGBT identity and the environment of one’s state of residence. It is also possible that LGBT adults make conscious choices to reside in certain states rather than others, but that possibility is difficult to assess, said Gallup.