Last Thursday, “the largest single study of the distribution of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) population in the U.S. on record” was published by the Williams Institute at the law school of the University of California, Los Angeles. In the poll, 121,290 Americans were asked if they self-identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

The results show that 3.4% of U.S. adults identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. “ … the highest incidence among those who are non-white, younger, and less educated. The findings are based on the largest representative sample of LGBTQ men and women ever collected. Unlike Census data, which looks only at same-sex couples, Gallup collected data based on more than 120,000 interviews of adults in the US. This is the first of several reports that will analyze data collected as part of Gallup’s daily tracking survey where respondents are asked if they personally identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.”

More key findings include:

  • Non-white Americans more likely to identify as LGBTQ

African-Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities are more likely than white Americans to identify as LGBTQ. The results show that 4.6% of African-Americans identify as LGBTQ along with 4.0% of Hispanics and 4.3% of Asians. Among white Americans, the figure was 3.2%.

  • Younger Americans three times more likely than seniors to identify as LGBTQ

Younger Americans (age 18-29) are more than three times as likely as seniors aged 65 and older to identify as LGBTQ (6.4% v. 1.9%, respectively). Among those aged 30 to 64, LGBTQ identity declines with age — at 3.2% for 30- to 49-year-olds and 2.6% for 50- to 64-year-olds.

  • A larger portion of lower educated Americans identify as LGBTQ compared to college graduates

Contrary to many studies using smaller data samples, Americans with lower levels of education are more likely than their higher educated counterparts to identify as LGBTQ. Among those with a high school education or less, 3.5% identify as LGBTQ compared to 2.8% of those with a college degree and 3.2% of those with a graduate education. LGBT identification is highest among those with some college education but not a college degree, at 4.0%.

  • LGBTQ women are as likely as non-LGBTQ women to be raising children

The analyses also show that raising children under age 18 in the home is as common among LGBTQ women as it is among non-LGBTQ women. In both groups, about a third had children. That was also true of non-LGBTQ men. Just 16% of them were raising a child in their home.

These poll results could serve as a strong resource when it comes to the continuing debates over the rights for same-sex couples, especially when it comes to discrimination, marriage and child-rearing issues

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