The findings of a Gallup poll conducted in the USA last month have revealed that Americans estimate 25 per cent of their fellow countrymen and women are gay or lesbian.

According to Gallup’s website, on average, adult Americans estimate that 25% of the population of the USA are gay or lesbian, and more specifically, over half of those polled (52 per cent) estimate that at least one in five Americans are gay or lesbian.

The highest estimates were said to be given by those on lower incomes and with less education. Conversely, those with higher incomes and more education gave lower estimates. Younger Americans, aged 18-29, also gave a higher average estimate than older Americans. Women gave a far higher average estimate than men.

The politically and socially liberal, along with Democrats, were also more likely to give higher estimates than those at the other end of the political spectrum.

However, there is little or no concrete data about the exact proportion of the US population that is actually gay or lesbian, not least because of the complexities surrounding sexual identity and the fact that some gay and lesbian people do not identify themselves with the accepted labels.

This latest collective estimate is likely to have been driven more by perceptions of and exposure to gay people rather than by scientific measurement or reality.

An earlier Gallup poll previously found that though a majority of Americans personally knew someone gay or lesbian, they did not reveal how many gay people they knew, or whether the amount of gay people they knew had increased as society became more tolerant.