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STATISTICS
 

HRC Statistics: Growing Up LGBTQ in America

PBS: LGBTQ America By The Numbers

CDC: LGBTQ Health Statistics

Pew Research Center: Survey of LGBTQ Americans

Wikipedia: LGBTQ Demographics in the US


Just How Many LGBTQ Americans Are There?

 

Gallup polling show that 4 percent of Americans are LGBTQ. But with more millennials self-identifying as LGBTQ, that number could one day reach the oft-cited ‘1 in 10.’

 

Both of these things are probably true: You have heard that 1 in 10 people are gay and you have no idea where that statistic came from.

 

 

Estimates of the size of the LGBTQ population have always been murky, bordering on mythological. The 1-in-10 figure first emerged out of post-World War II studies by the pioneering sexologist Alfred Kinsey, who reported that 10 percent of men were “more or less exclusively homosexual.” That number wasn’t perfect (and it’s been continuously revised) but it became a politically expedient tool in the Stonewall era.

 

Now, over 60 years after Kinsey’s death, new Gallup data shows that the estimated size of the U.S. LGBTQ population as a whole is getting closer than ever to the legendary “1-in-10” number—among millennials, at least.

 

Using Gallup data taken from interviews with over 1.6 million adults, demographer Gary J. Gates reported that 10 million Americans (4 percent of the population) now identify as LGBTQ.

 

That includes a record-high 7.3 percent of people born between 1980 and 1998 who now identify as LGBT—up from 5.8 percent in 2012. This new data reinforces a 2015 conclusion from the Public Religion Research Institute that “7 percent of millennials identify either as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender,” based on a survey of 2,000 adults.

 

 

 

But will that number ever reach 10 percent in the population at large?

 

“It’s not a completely unrealistic figure,” Gates said. “Certainly it appears as if (given a little more time) it might, in fact, be the case that close to 10 percent identify as LGBTQ.”

 

Gates is one of the top demographers of the LGBTQ population in the United States, and the author of a widely-cited 2011 Williams Institute meta-analysis on the subject, which estimated that 3.5 percent of adults identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, and 0.3 percent identify as transgender. He said that the increasing size of the LGBTQ population estimate can largely be attributed to “people feeling more comfortable and more willing to identify as LGBTQ.”

 

But some groups are more willing than others to disclose their identity to a Gallup interviewer. Millennials, as Gates noted in his report, are responsible for “virtually all of the increases observed in overall LGBTQ self-identification,” which is unsurprising because they are “the first generation in the U.S. to grow up in an environment where social acceptance of the LGBTQ community markedly increased.”

 

In other words, it’s not the case that LGBTQ identity is suddenly rising in prevalence but that today’s young people are simply more forthcoming when asked about sexuality and gender on surveys. If you’re a baby boomer, think of it as a variation on that quote from the 1989 Kevin Costner classic Field of Dreams: “If you build LGBTQ inclusion, they will come out.”

 

And one sub-group of the LGBTQ community seems to be coming out (to Gallup, at least) in particularly large numbers.

 

“It’s very clear that some of the biggest increases are among women identifying as bisexual,” Gates revealed. “That’s what’s really driving a lot of these findings.”

 

Bisexual people, as Gates has previously reported, constitute a “slight majority” of the lesbian, gay, and bisexual community.

 

However, bisexual people are much less likely to be out of the closet than their lesbian or gay peers, with only 28 percent telling Pew in 2013 that “most or all of the important people in their lives” knew about their sexual orientation.

 

Increased bisexual self-identification among women, then, is an encouraging sign for a particularly maligned subset of the LGBTQ community.

 

Bisexual men, unfortunately, are subject to unique stereotypes and stigmas that may make it even more difficult to measure their number. Only 12 percent of bisexual men told Pew that they were out to the important people in their lives.

 

 

 

This uneven growth in LGBTQ self-identification across different sexual orientations and genders makes it challenging for Gates to confidently predict how quickly (or if) the estimated size of the LGBTQ population will rise beyond the 7 percent rate currently found among millennials.

 

“Ten years down the road, are men going to catch up or is that gap going to get bigger?” he wondered aloud.

 

But one thing’s for certain: The more LGBTQ people experience social acceptance, the more accurate our estimates of the size of the LGBTQ population will become.

 

In today’s social climate, research suggests that LGBTQ people may still be unwilling to self-identify as such on anonymous surveys. In one 2013 study from researchers at Ohio State University and Boston University (reported by Pew) the percentage of respondents who identified as non-heterosexual on a survey nearly doubled when they asked about sexual orientation in an indirect and even more anonymous way.

 

Gates points to discouraging indicators of contemporary anti-LGBTQ prejudice (like the fact that close to 30 percent of Americans think that same-sex sexual behavior should be illegal) as a sign that “we’re still quite a bit away” from being confident that all survey respondents are comfortable disclosing their sexual and gender identity.

 

Demographers can make estimates and the government can try to ask about LGBTQ identity on the census, but until being LGBTQ is a total non-issue, we’ll never know the size of the population for sure.

 

Gates stresses that it’s still no cake walk for young people to come out—a response to the myths that it’s now “trendy” to be LGBTQ and that children are being “peer pressured” into being gay.

 

“I can still offer you so many examples of why it is so difficult to be out as an LGBTQ person today,” he said. “So the idea that it’s somehow just easy for any generation (particularly younger generations to come out) seems to me just ridiculous on the face of it.”

 

But generational change will almost certainly make coming out easier for everyone, young and old alike. And that’s why, if pressed, Gates does expect the estimated size of the LGBTQ population to climb ever closer to the mythical “one-in-10” mark.

 

“Based on research, I think the answer is probably that, in fact, these numbers are just going to get closer and closer (and maybe exceed) 10 percent down the road,” he said.

 

[Source: Samatha Allen / Daily Beast / January 2017]

 

Williams Institute: LGBTQ Population Statistics

LGBTQ Bullying Statistics

Gallup Poll: Adults in US Identifying at LGBTQ

Daily Beast: How Many LGBTQ Americans Are There?

Time Mag: How Many Americans Are Gay?

 

Results of Gallup Poll on LGBTQ Population

 

About 10 million Americans (or 4.6 percent of the US population) identified as LGBTQ in 2016.

 

A new Gallup poll released the findings, which show a rise in 1.75 million people since 2012. To determine these numbers, pollsters conducted interviews with random sample of 1.6 million U.S. adults (over age 18) for the past five years, asking, "Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender?" Nearly 50,000 responded in the affirmative.

 

The report claimed self-identification is only one way to measure the nation's LGBTQ population. It noted how "direct assessments of same-sex sexual behavior or attraction yield very different (and often larger) population estimates."

 

 

Here are some of the other significant findings. Young people born between 1980-1998 were twice as likely as other age demographics to identify as LGBTQ. Although they account for only 32 percent of the adult population, millennials comprised 58 percent of the total number of self-identified LGBTQ Americans. Gallup attributes this to a decline in stigma.

 

"It's likely that millennials are the first generation in the U.S. to grow up in an environment where social acceptance of the LGBTQ community markedly increased," the report noted. "This may be an important factor in explaining their greater willingness to identify as LGBTQ."

 

"They may not have experienced the levels of discrimination and stigma experienced by their older counterparts," it added. "The perceived risks associated with publicly identifying as LGBTQ might also be lower in millennials than among other generations."

 

In addition, women (4.4 percent) were more likely than men (3.7 percent) to identify as LGBTQ; the former group also accounted for a greater increase since 2012.

 

In terms of race and ethnicity, polled demographics were white (3.6 percent), black (4.6 percent), Hispanic (5.4 percent), Asian (4.9 percent), and other (6.3 percent). Asian-Americans, which tallied 3.5 percent in 2012, saw the largest increase in numbers. According to Gallup, this means that 40 percent of self-identified LGBTQ adults are people of color, an increase from 33 percent in 2012.

 

Gallup measured other factors. For example, LGBTQ adults in the survey were more likely be non-religious (56 percent) than straight people (32 percent). The poll also examined education attainment and annual household income.

 

"In a span of only five years, the demographic composition of Americans who identify as LGBTQ has markedly changed," the report stated. "It has become larger, younger, more female and less religious. These demographic traits are of interest to a wide range of constituencies."

 

[Source: Advocate Mag]

 

MAP: State by State LGBTQ Population Statistics

Advocate Mag: Record Number of Americans Identify as LGBTQ

Still I Rise: A Look at the LGBTQ Struggle Through Statistics

GLSEN: National LGBTQ Research and Reports

Nielson: LGBTQ Consumer Report

 

LGBTQ Statistics

 

--42% of people who are LGBTQ report living in an unwelcoming environment.

--80% of gay and lesbian youth report severe social isolation.

--6 in 10 LGBTQ students report feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation. You can encourage your classmates to accept LGBTQ students by promoting your views on social media. Sign up for Love It Forward.

--90% of teens who are LGBTQ come out to their close friends.

--In 2013, 92% of adults who are LGBTQ said they believe society had become more accepting of them than in the past 10 years.

--42% of people who are LGBTQ report living in an unwelcoming environment.

--80% of gay and lesbian youth report severe social isolation.

--6 in 10 LGBTQ students report feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation. You can encourage your classmates to accept LGBTQ students by promoting your views on social media.

--90% of teens who are LGBTQ come out to their close friends.

--In 2013, 92% of adults who are LGBTQ said they believe society had become more accepting of them than in the past 10 years.

 

Nielson: State of the LGBTQ Consumer

US Health & Human Services Reports: LGBTQ Health and Wellbeing

Pew Research Center: Survey of LGBTQ Americans

Gallup Poll: Adults in US Identifying at LGBTQ

MAP: State by State LGBTQ Population Statistics

 

Businesses and Government Officials Should Not Discriminate Against LGBTQ People

 

According to The Harris Poll, the majority of Americans agree that businesses and government officials should not discriminate against LGBTQ people.

 

As Kentucky’s Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis may now realize, most Americans believe that government officials should not allow their religious beliefs to stand in the way of issuing marriage licenses to all couples. A new national survey reveals that Americans shun this form of discrimination not only by public officials, but also by businesses that wish to deny goods or services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) people.

 

A full two-thirds (67%) of Americans, including 78% of LGBTQ Americans, agreed that a government official should be obligated to serve all of the public and perform all duties, regardless of their religious beliefs. The Out & Equal Workplace survey also confirmed that 60% of Americans (and 80% of LGBTQ individuals) believe that business owners should not be permitted to turn away anyone based on their religious beliefs.

 

 

These and other findings were included in the 2015 Out & Equal Workplace Survey, released today. The annual study was conducted online between September 9 and 17, 2015, by The Harris Poll in conjunction with Out & Equal Workplace Advocates and Witeck Communications, among 2,368 U.S. adults, of whom 304 self-identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (which includes an over-sample of gay and lesbian adults). Launched in 2002, this survey has become a trusted annual barometer of attitudes surrounding LGBTQ issues in the workplace and is the longest-running national survey of its kind. Full results of this study, including data tables, can be found here.

 

“These findings makes it clear that a majority of Americans still believe that fairness and equal treatment are a birthright for all of us – and that discrimination against LGBTQ people has no justification,” said Selisse Berry, Founder, CEO, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. “This past year, we saw more and more business leaders and corporations boldly oppose discriminatory religious freedom legislation, while standing up for their workforce and their customers. Out & Equal takes pride in helping build this positive foundation for equality across America and around the world.”

 

 

Strong Support for Federal Non-Discrimination Protections:

 

The survey also informed respondents that there is no federal law today that protects someone who is gay or transgender from discrimination in public accommodations such as restaurants, hotels and other businesses open to all the public. When asked if they would support such a law, 6 out of 10 (62%) Americans agreed, with 44% saying they “strongly support” a federal law, and, by contrast, only 14% saying they “strongly oppose” such a law.

 

In a related question, the survey found that 21% of Americans believe that LGBTQ people are protected from being fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in all 50 states, including 12% of LGBTQ people who share this misconception. However, there is no such federal law, and today there are only 22 states with workplace protections based on sexual orientation, and 19 states that include protections for gender identity.

 

 State Exemptions for Individual Religious Beliefs:

 

The survey also touched on the rise of state legislation that would expand ways to exempt individuals from laws or regulations that conflict with their religious beliefs. Forty-five percent of Americans say they oppose expanding these religious exemptions at the state level, with just 30% in support. Roughly one out of five, however, said they still were not sure.

 

“Americans are debating and learning much about the kind of society they desire,” said Bob Witeck, President of Witeck Communications. “The good news is that their distaste for discrimination seems to be growing, and this signal is keenly understood in the marketplace and throughout American life.”

 

 

 

Methodology:

 

This Harris Poll was conducted online (in partnership with Out & Equal and Witeck Communications) within the United States between September 9 and 17, 2015, among 2,368 adults (ages 18 and over), of whom 304 self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (including an over-sample of lesbian and gay adults). Figures for age, sex, race, education, region and income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. In addition, the results for the gay and lesbian sample were weighted separately based on profiles of the gay and lesbian population that The Harris Poll has compiled through many different online surveys. Propensity score weighting also was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

 

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with non-response, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

 

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Poll, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

 

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

 

[Source: The Harris Poll, October 2015]

 

 

 

Experiences with Violence

 

According to data from the 2015 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), of surveyed LGB students:

 

--10% were threatened or injured with a weapon on school property

--34% were bullied on school property

--28% were bullied electronically

--23% of LGB students who had dated or went out with someone during the 12 months before the survey had experienced sexual dating violence in the prior year

--18% of LGB students had experienced physical dating violence

--18% of LGB students had been forced to have sexual intercourse at some point in their lives.3

 

MAP: State by State LGBTQ Population Statistics

Advocate Mag: Record Number of Americans Identify as LGBTQ

Still I Rise: A Look at the LGBTQ Struggle Through Statistics

GLSEN: National LGBTQ Research and Reports

Nielson: LGBTQ Consumer Report

 

Survey of LGBTQ Americans

 

An overwhelming share of America’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer adults (92%) say society has become more accepting of them in the past decade and an equal number expect it to grow even more accepting in the decade ahead. They attribute the changes to a variety of factors, from people knowing and interacting with someone who is LGBTQ, to advocacy on their behalf by high-profile public figures, to LGBTQ adults raising families.

 

At the same time, however, a new nationally representative survey of 1,197 LGBTQ adults offers testimony to the many ways they feel they have been stigmatized by society. About four-in-ten (39%) say that at some point in their lives they were rejected by a family member or close friend because of their sexual orientation or gender identity; 30% say they have been physically attacked or threatened; 29% say they have been made to feel unwelcome in a place of worship; and 21% say they have been treated unfairly by an employer. About six-in-ten (58%) say they’ve been the target of slurs or jokes.

 

 

 

Also, just 56% say they have told their mother about their sexual orientation or gender identity, and 39% have told their father. Most who did tell a parent say that it was difficult, but relatively few say that it damaged their relationship.

 

The survey finds that 12 is the median age at which lesbian, gay and bisexual adults first felt they might be something other than heterosexual or straight. For those who say they now know for sure that they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer, that realization came at a median age of 17.

 

[Source: Pew Research Center]

 

Nielson: State of the LGBTQ Consumer

US Health & Human Services Reports: LGBTQ Health and Wellbeing

Pew Research Center: Survey of LGBTQ Americans

Gallup Poll: Adults in US Identifying at LGBTQ

MAP: State by State LGBTQ Population Statistics

 

LGBTQ Population Surveys

 

According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA Law School, increasing numbers of population-based surveys in the United States and across the world include questions that allow for an estimate of the size of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) population. This research brief discusses challenges associated with collecting better information about the LGBT community and reviews eleven recent US and international surveys that ask sexual orientation or gender identity questions. The brief concludes with estimates of the size of the LGBTQ population in the United States.

 

Key findings from the research brief are as follows: An estimated 3.5% of adults in the United States identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual and an estimated 0.3% of adults are transgender. This implies that there are approximately 9 million LGBTQ Americans, a figure roughly equivalent to the population of New Jersey. Among adults who identify as LGB, bisexuals comprise a slight majority (1.8% compared to 1.7% who identify as lesbian or gay). Women are substantially more likely than men to identify as bisexual. Bisexuals comprise more than half of the lesbian and bisexual population among women in eight of the nine surveys considered in the brief. Conversely, gay men comprise substantially more than half of gay and bisexual men in seven of the nine surveys. Estimates of those who report any lifetime same-sex sexual behavior and any same-sex sexual attraction are substantially higher than estimates of those who identify as LGB. An estimated 19 million Americans (8.2%) report that they have engaged in same-sex sexual behavior and nearly 25.6 million

 

Americans (11%) acknowledge at least some same-sex sexual attraction. Understanding the size of the LGBTQ population is a critical first step to informing a host of public policy and research topics. The surveys highlighted in this report demonstrate the viability of sexual orientation and gender identity questions on large national population-based surveys. Adding these questions to more national, state, and local data sources is critical to developing research that enables a better understanding of the understudied LGBTQ community.

 

HRC Statistics: Growing Up LGBTQ in America

PBS: LGBTQ America By The Numbers

CDC: LGBTQ Health Statistics

Pew Research Center: Survey of LGBTQ Americans

Wikipedia: LGBTQ Demographics in the US

 

 

LGBTQ Students and Cyber Bullying

 

According to statistics from a survey conducted by GLSEN, LGBTQ youth suffer from cyber bullying:

 

--42 per cent of LGBTQ youth have experienced cyber bullying

--25 per cent more than once

--35 per cent receive online threats

--58 per cent say something bad is said to them or about them online

Cyber bullying of LGBTQ youth is three times higher than other student’s experience.

--33 per cent report sexual harassment online, which is four times higher than the experience of other students.

--27 per cent of LGBTQ youth do not feel safe online.

--20 per cent report receiving harassing text messages from other students.

 

 

 

LGBTQ National Statistics: School Climate Survey

 

--84% of LGBTQ students reported being verbally harassed (name calling, threats) because of their sexual orientation.

 

--82.9% reported that faculty or staff never intervened or intervened only some of the time when present when homophobic remarks were made.

 

--39.1% of LGBTQ students reported being physically harassed (being shoved, pushed) because of their sexual orientation.

 

--44.7% of LGBTQ youth of color report being verbally harassed because of both their sexual orientation and race/ethnicity.

 

--LGBTQ students unable to locate supportive teachers or staff were more than twice as likely not to plan to continue their education after secondary school.

 

--Grade point average for LGBTQ students who cannot locate any supportive faculty or staff was lower than LGBTQ students who could locate one or more supportive school personnel (2.8 versus 3.1).

 

[Source: National School Climate Survey, Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, GLSEN, 2003]

 

Williams Institute: LGBTQ Population Statistics

LGBTQ Bullying Statistics

Gallup Poll: Adults in US Identifying at LGBTQ

Daily Beast: How Many LGBTQ Americans Are There?

Time Mag: How Many Americans Are Gay?

 

 

GLSEN Report: LGBTQ Youth Statistics

 

--Over 90% of LGBTQ youth report that they sometimes or frequently hear homophobic remarks in their school (words such as "faggot", "dyke", or "queer").

 

--36% of lesbian gay and bisexual youth report hearing homophobic remarks from faculty or school staff.

 

--20% of secondary school counselors report that counseling a homosexual student concerning gay issues would not be personally gratifying, and do not consider themselves competent in counseling gay adolescents.

 

--LGBTQ youth are almost twice as likely as their non-gay peers to be threatened with or injured by a weapon at school.

 

--LGBTQ youth are more than four times as likely to skip whole days of school out of fear.

 

--Harassed youth are more than four times as likely to report having made a serious enough suicide attempt to have been treated by a doctor or nurse.

 

[Source: Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, GLSEN]

 

 

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