The number of Americans identifying as LGBT just crossed a massive milestone

Nick Duffy January 13, 2017
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Activists hug in front of the White House after the Supreme Court legalised same-sex marriage (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty)

There has been a surge in people identifying as LGBT, a massive analysis of polling data has revealed.

US polling giant Gallup this week revealed its analysis of data gathered over the past five years, based on the 1.6 million adults randomly sampled as part of its Gallup Daily tracking polls.

Among other things, the data reveals that the proportions of Americans who identify as LGBT has boomed in the past few years, rising from 3.5% in 2012 to 4.1% in 2016.

According to Gallup’s interpretation of the data, that means an estimated 10,052,000 adults in the US now identify as LGBT, passing the 10 million threshold for the first time in 2016.
The number of Americans identifying as LGBT just crossed a massive milestone
The pollster explained: “These figures, drawn from the largest representative sample of LGBT Americans collected in the U.S., imply that more than an estimated 10 million adults now identify as LGBT in the U.S. today, approximately 1.75 million more compared with 2012.

“This analysis is based on interviews with a random sample of more than 1.6 million U.S. adults as part of Gallup Daily tracking. Across the five years of data collection, more than 49,000 respondents said yes when asked, ‘Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender?’

It found that Millennials “drive virtually all of the increases observed in overall LGBT self-identification”, with the portion of young people identifying as LGBT increasing from 5.8% in 2012 to 7.3% in 2016.

Looking at ethnic identity, the largest observable boom in identification as LGBT has been among Asians (3.5% to 4.9%) and Hispanics (4.3% to 5.4%).
The number of Americans identifying as LGBT just crossed a massive milestone
The proportion of LGBT Black Americans rose marginally from 4.4% to 4.6%, while non-Hispanic whites remain the least likely to identify as LGBT, at 3.6% (up from 3.2%).

Gallup also found that the proportion of highly or moderately religious adults who identified as LGBT remained virtually the same between 2012 and 2016, but increased from 5.3% to 7.0% among those who are not religious.

The number of Americans identifying as LGBT just crossed a massive milestone

As a result, nonreligious adults are now more than three times more likely to identify as LGBT (7%) than those who are highly religious (1.9%).

Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign said: “This survey reflects the fact that in just the past four years, there has been a historic increase in American adults boldly coming out as LGBTQ, often at great risk, but it does not take into account the countless LGBTQ Americans who remain closeted — especially in areas of the country where our community lacks protections from discrimination and violence.

“However, the Gallup survey does confirm what we already know — the LGBTQ community is at a turning point when it comes to political relevance. On the same night that we saw Donald Trump win the presidency, we saw North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, the face of anti-LGBTQ equality, become the only incumbent governor to lose re-election this fall, underscoring that reality that anti-LGBTQ discrimination is not only wrong, it’s now a political liability.”

More: Gay, LGBT, population, US, US

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