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The Williams Institute estimates that 4.5% of adults in U.S. identify as LGBT
2019-03-05

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An estimated 4.5% of adults in the United States, approximately 11.3 million people, identify as LGBT, according to a new analysis by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. The majority of LGBT people ( 58% ) are female and 29% of LGBT people over the age of 25 are raising children.

Researchers analyzed data from the Gallup Daily Tracking Survey to create a comprehensive look at the demographics and socioeconomic status of LGBT adults nationwide and by state. Results are presented in the LGBT Data & Demographicsinteractive on the Williams Institute website and can be filtered by gender and race.

Population estimates by state can be found in the companion report, "Adult LGBT Population in the United States."

Key findings include

LGBT people in the U.S. are racially and ethnically diverse: White ( 58% ), Latino/a ( 21% ), Black ( 12% ), Asian ( 2% ), American Indian and Alaska Native ( 1% ), Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander ( 1% ) and more than one race ( 5% ).

Over half of LGBT adults ( 56% ) are under the age of 35, compared to 28% of non-LGBT adults.

Just 1 in 4 LGBT adults ( 23% ) are age 50 or older, compared to nearly half ( 47% ) of non-LGBT adults.

Many LGBT adults struggle economically: 27% are food insecure, compared to 15% of non-LGBT adults and 25% have household incomes below $24,000, compared to 18% of non-LGBT adults.

Washington D.C. has the highest percentage of LGBT people ( 9.8% ) in the U.S. and North Dakota has the lowest ( 2.7% ).

Idaho has the highest percentage of LGBT parents ( 44% ) and Washington D.C. has the lowest ( 9% ).

Washington State has the highest percentage of LGBT women ( 63% ), while Washington D.C. has the highest percentage of LGBT men ( 65% ).

States with the highest LGBT unemployment rates are Wyoming ( 17% ), Alaska ( 15% ), South Dakota ( 15% ) and West Virginia ( 14% ).

Unemployment rates in those states are 2 to 5 times lower for non-LGBT adults: Wyoming ( 4% ), Alaska ( 5% ), South Dakota ( 3% ) and West Virginia ( 7% ).

"These findings remind us that LGBT people are young and old, people of color and white, they are parents, and they live in every state of the union," said Kerith Conron, Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar and Research Director at the Williams Institute. "Most LGBT people are not wealthy, and in fact, many LGBT people are low-income and are experiencing food insecurity. At a minimum, policy-makers and service providers should work to ensure access to safety net program and services for LGBT people."

Access the full LGBT Data & Demographics interactive: williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/visualization/lgbt-stats/ .

The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, a think tank on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy, is dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research with real-world relevance. williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/ .


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