Report: 9 million LGBTs in the country

An LGBT think tank at the University of California this week released a study that estimated the total number of LGBT Americans to be about 9 million.

The Williams Institute’s report, released April 6, examined both national and state-level population surveys to formulate that figure.

The researchers estimate that approximately 8 million, or 3.5 percent of the American population, is gay, lesbian or bisexual, with an additional 700,000 people identifying as transgender. Put in context, the report suggests that the LGBT population is equal to the entire population of the state of New Jersey.

The report was based on an analysis of four national surveys and two state studies, and lead researcher Dr. Gary Gates noted that the results underscore the need for further LGBT-inclusive surveys.

“Last week, the Institute of Medicine at the National Academies released an analysis of LGBT health research calling for federal statistical agencies to quickly move toward LGBT inclusion in their data collection,” Gates said. “The surveys highlighted in this report demonstrate the usefulness of sexual-orientation and gender-identity questions on large-scale national population-based surveys. Better data can provide the building blocks for critical information to understand the lives of the 9 million LGBT Americans who have been historically marginalized in both society and research.

Among the LGB population in the surveys, the bisexual community was slightly larger — comprising about 1.8 percent of the adult population, compared with 1.7 percent for gays and lesbians.

While an estimated 8 million people self-identify as LGB, the report found that overall 19 million Americans, about 8.2 percent of the population, have experienced same-sex sexual behavior, and more than 25 million people, or about 11 percent of the country, report having had an attraction to someone of the same sex.

Jen Colletta can be reached at [email protected].

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