Just How Many LGBT Americans Are There? – The Daily Beast
2017/01/16 Leave a comment
Noteworthy generational change:
Estimates of the size of the LGBT 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. LGBT 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 LGBT.
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—first highlighted by The Daily Beast—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 told The Daily Beast. “Certainly it appears as if—given a little more time—it might, in fact, be [the case] that close to 10 percent identify as LGBT.”
Gates is one of the top demographers of the LGBT 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 told The Daily Beast that the increasing size of the LGBT population estimate can largely be attributed to “people feeling more comfortable and more willing to identify [as LGBT].”