America’s LGBT+ population could be twice as big as previously thought, new study finds

US LGBT+ population may be double what was previously thought

The results of an experimental study suggests the LGBT+ population of the United States may now be over 20 million, double the numbers previously thought.

The US Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey is an experimental, short-term survey designed to help officials gather data during the pandemic, with participants randomly selected to take part.

At least eight per cent of adult respondents to they survey identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

A further two per cent of participants identified with a different sexual orientation to straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, which could include those who are pansexual or asexual. 

The survey suggests that bisexual people make up the largest demographic in the LGBT+ community, with about four per cent of those surveyed saying they are bi, and that the total amount of LGBT+ people in America could now equal the population of Florida (21 million). 

This is over double the figure estimated by the UCLA School of Law Williams Institute in 2011. That research suggested that 3.5 per cent of adults in the US are lesbian, gay or bisexual, and that 0.3 per cent are transgender – a combined total of 9 million Americans. 

This is the first time in the history of the Census Bureau where questions about sexual orientation and gender identity were asked in a survey.

The researchers used a probability study, or a survey where every person has a chance of being randomly selected to take the survey, in order to make estimates.

While the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) admits that the data is “not perfect” as the entire population was not surveyed, and some respondents may be closeted and therefore not wish to disclose their orientation, it “provides some information about the status of the LGBTQ+ population”.

HRC released a report analysing the results, entitled “We Are Here: Understanding the Size of the LGBT+ Community”.

Joni Madison, HRC’s interim president, said in a statement: “LGBTQ+ people are here – in every town, in every city, in each and every ZIP code. 

“This data shows what we’ve suspected: our community is larger and more widespread than we could have known up to this point.

“We’re proud to bring this data to light and set the stage for a future where all the millions of LGBTQ+ people in America enjoy full legal and lived equality.”

In the UK, the latest government figures found that the country has a higher lesbian, gay, and bisexual population than ever before

The data showed that the proportion of the UK population aged 16 and over who said they were LGB rose to 2.7 per cent in 2019, up from 2.2 per cent the previous year, representing a further 200,000 people.

Penelope McClure, from the ONS’ Population Statistics Division, said: “An estimated 1.4 million people aged 16 and over in the UK identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual in 2019 – a statistically significant increase from 1.2 million in 2018 – continuing the trend we have seen over recent years.”