Poll shows more and more Americans identify as LGBT

Participants at the 2022 Philly Pride Parade. (Photo by Jason Villemez.)

A recent Gallup poll indicates that the percentage of adults in the U.S. who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or as non-cishet has gone up since the company’s initial poll in 2012. Based on a 2021 survey of over 12,000 American adults, 7.1% identify as LGBT, twice the percentage since the 2012 study.

Overall, an increasingly higher percentage of younger adults identify as LGBT, whereas the numbers have remained consistent among older generations. The current data show that 20.8% of Gen Z adults born from 1997-2003 identify as LGBT, compared to 10.5% of millennials who identify as such. Much fewer percentages of Gen Xers, baby boomers and traditionalists, who were born before 1946, identify as LGBT. 

As more Gen Zers reach the age of adulthood, or 18 years old, a higher percentage of them are identifying as LGBT, bumping up the overall percentage of LGBT-identified survey respondents. 

The most common identification within the LGBT identities is bisexuality; fifty-seven percent of LGBT respondents said they were bisexual, which on the broader scale comes out to 4% of all American adults. In terms of other sexual and gender identities, 21% of LGBT respondents identify as gay, 14% identify as lesbian, 10% as transgender and 4% as something other than the LGBT. In the overall population, that means that 1.5% of American adults identify as gay, 1% identify as lesbian, 4% as bisexual, .7% as trans and .3 percent as something else.  

In terms of racial demographics, Hispanic adults saw the biggest bump in LGBT identification, with 11% total, more than double the total in the 2012 poll. By contrast, Black Americans and white Americans showed more gradual increases, with both coming in with around 6% of people identifying as LGBT. According to Gallup, Hispanic American adults, or at least Hispanic American survey respondents, tend to be a lot younger than Black and white American adults. In keeping with the trend of younger people being open about their sexual orientation and gender identity, LGBT people are more prevalent among the Hispanic adult population. 

Zooming out, based on the discrepancy in LGBT identification between older and younger demographics, Gallup projects that the percentage of LGBT-identifying Americans will increase as younger generations make up a larger portion of U.S. adults. More younger American adults across multiple races tend to identify as non-cishet than their older counterparts. Considering about 10% of millennials and 20% of adult Gen Zers identify as LGBT, the percentage of LGBT Americans is expected to rise above 10% before too long.

Another study, performed by the UCLA Williams Institute, revealed that around 1.6 million adults (ages 18 and older) and youth (ages 13 to 17) identify as transgender in the United States. Similar to the Gallup poll, the study found that younger people are far more likely to identify as trans than older people, with 1.4% of people ages 13 to 17 identifying as trans, compared with 0.3% of people over age 65. The percentage of trans individuals also differed by state. The study estimated that 3.0% of youth aged 13 to 17 in New York State identify as trans, compared with 0.6% of youth aged 13 to 17 in Wyoming, for example.