(LA Blade) A record 7.1% of adults in the U.S. identify as LGBT, which doubles the percentage from 10 years ago, a Gallup poll found. 

The survey, released Thursday, notes that the “increase in LGBT identification in recent years largely reflects the higher prevalence of such identities among the youngest U.S. adults compared with the older generations they are replacing in the U.S. adult population.”

Generation Z, especially, fueled the increase, with nearly 21% of 18 to 25-year-olds identifying as LGBTQ+ – which is nearly double the proportion of millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, who do so, according to Gallup. The gap widens further when compared to older generations.

Gallup asked more than 12,000 U.S. adults how they identified last year to get the results. Around 86% of people said they are straight or heterosexual, while 6.6% did not offer an opinion. It has measured LGBTQ+ identification since 2012. 

In Gallup’s 2017 survey, Gen Z made up 7% of the national sample but accounted for 12% in its most recent poll as more from that generation reached age 18 over the past four years. The proportion of adults born before 1946 has fallen from 11% to 8% in the same period of time.

The high rate of LGBTQ-identifying adults results from young adults coming to terms with their sexuality or gender identity, as more and more Americans accept LGBTQ+ people and queer individuals enjoy increasing legal protection against discrimination, Gallup said. 

The analytics giant also predicted that the proportion of LGBT Americans should exceed 10% in the near future. 

“Given the large disparities in LGBT identification between younger and older generations of Americans, the proportion of all Americans who identify as LGBT can be expected to grow in the future as younger generations will constitute a larger share of the total U.S. adult population,” Gallup noted. 

Joni Madison, the interim president of the Human Rights Campaign, said the poll emphasizes “the need to codify legal protections against discrimination and implement LGBTQ+ inclusive data collection at federal, state, local and private levels.”

“With more LGBTQ+ people than ever before living openly and embracing their identity, the fight for LGBTQ+ equality in America must continue to represent this ever-growing and beautiful community,” she said. 

Last year, as Gallup conducted the poll, more state legislatures introduced anti-LGBT bills than ever before in recent history. The trans community felt the brunt of the legislative attacks, with bills aimed at banning Trans women and girls from sports and criminalizing gender-affirming care for minors showing up in statehouses all over the nation. 

The rate of LGBTQ-identifying people was stable in older generations – traditionalists, born before 1946, baby boomers, born between 1946-1964, and Generation X, born between 1965-1980 – while it increased in younger ones, according to the poll. 

There was a “modest uptick among” millennials, from 5.8% in 2012 to 7.8% in 2017 and 10.5% currently. The percentage of Gen Z who are LGBTQ+ nearly doubled since 2017, “when only the leading edge of that generation — those born between 1997 and 1999 — had reached adulthood.”

“Should that trend within Gen Z continue, the proportion of U.S. adults in that generation who say they are LGBT will grow even higher once all members of the generation reach adulthood,” Gallup said. 

In addition, the survey found that bisexual was the most common identification among LGBTQ+ Americans, with more than half, 57%, indicating they are bisexual. Of the total population, 4% said that they were bisexual. 

Gallup noted that its pre-2020 polling did not ask adults which category LGBTQ+ category they identified with, but other research organizations and Gallup’s 2020 results have consistently found bisexual adults to be the most common LGBTQ+ people. Previous analyses showed bisexuals are much more likely to marry spouses or live with partners of a different sex, according to the company. 

Meanwhile, 21% of LGBT Americans said they were gay, 14% lesbian, 10% transgender and 4% something else – all which accounted for under 2% of the total population. 

Bisexual was the most common identifier in Gen Z, millennials, and Gen X. At the same time, older Americans are just as likely to say they are gay or lesbian as they are bisexual, the survey showed. Overall, 15% of Gen Z, 6% of millennials and nearly 2% of Gen X said they are bisexual.

Additionally, women are more likely to identify as bisexual than men. In contrast, men are more likely to identify as gay than bisexual and women are more likely to be bisexual than lesbian.


SFGN and the Los Angeles Blade are media partners.


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