Demographics of LGBT People

How Many Gay People are There in the US?

As well as the problems outlined above in estimating the number of gay people, the geographical size and dense population presents an additional problem for anybody trying to calculate the number of gay people in America.

However, Alfred Kinsey carried out research in the 1940s and 1950s into the sexual behaviour of 12,000 men and women in America. Although his work has been heavily criticised it remains a rare and relatively authoritative study of sexual behaviour in America.

Among the men he found:

37% reported some homosexual contact;

13% reported more homosexual than heterosexual contact;

4% reported exclusively homosexual contact.


Among the women he found:

13% reported some homosexual contact;

4% reported more homosexual than heterosexual contact;

1% reported exclusively homosexual contact.


From these results Kinsey realized that not only were few people exclusively homosexual, but also far from the vast majority, particularly of men, were exclusively heterosexual. This led him to develop an orientation scale, which had exclusively heterosexual and exclusively homosexual at opposite ends with a wide middle range to cater for the majority of people who were neither.

More recently, data has been collected in America, during the ten-year national census, on married and unmarried-partner households. They did not ask the actual sexual orientation of the respondents, so there is no measure of single gay people, nor is their a measure of those gay people in committed relationships but not living together. Whilst the census cannot give us a figure for the number of people who are gay in America, it can inform us on how many same-sex partnership households identified themselves in the survey. The 2000 census tells us that...


there are 105.5 million households in the USA....

5.5 million of these consist of unmarried partnerships...

of these, 595,000 consist of same sex partners...


This can be interpreted as there being nearly 1.2 million gay people living with a same sex partner in America. This is a huge increase from the 1990 census, which identified only 145,000 same sex unmarried households. As with the NATSAL survey in the UK, there is undoubtedly a large amount of under reporting in these sorts of surveys. Possible explanations of this include continued prejudice and discrimination against gay people.


There have been various other surveys in the US that have tried to measure numbers of gay people. An analysis of these surveys by the Human Rights Campaign came up with this conclusion.

'In the last three elections, the Voter News Service exit poll registered the gay vote between 4 percent and 5 percent. While concluding that the Census 2000 undercounted the total number of gay or lesbian households, for the purposes of this study, we estimate the gay and lesbian population at 5 percent of the total U.S. population over 18 years of age, (209,128,094). This results in an estimated total gay and lesbian population of 10,456,405. A recent study of gay and lesbian voting habits conducted by Harris Interactive determined that 30 percent of gay and lesbian people are living in a committed relationship in the same residence. Using that figure, we suggest that 3,136,921 gay or lesbian people are living in the United States in committed relationships in the same residence. '

So, if we accept that the data presented by the Human Rights Commission is indeed indicative of the real numbers, then it shows that the census data is only showing up a small percentage of the actual number of gay people living in America. Until, however, a nationwide survey is done, asking questions on sexual attitudes and behaviour, then we can only use data and analyses, such as the ones above, to work out an answer to the question of gay people living in America.

From Avert.Org

Demographics of Gay & Lesbian Population

A Profile on the LGBT Community...

Below are statistics that are reported from nearly 7,500 respondents who participated in our most recent annual Gay/Lesbian Consumer Online Census.


What do you identify yourself as?


“Gay”                             93% of Males self identify as “Gay”


“Lesbian”                        78% of Females self identify as “Lesbian”


“Queer”                          2% of Males self identify as “Queer”

                                    3% of Females self identify as “Queer”


“Bisexual”                       2.4% of Males self identify as “Bisexual”

                                    8.6% of Females self identify as “Bisexual”


Do you identify more strongly with your ethnicity or your sexual orientation?


“Orientation”                   61% of Males self identify more with their “Orientation”

                                    8%% of Females self identify more with their “Orientation”


“Ethnic Group”                 8% of Males self identify more with their “Ethnic Group”

                                    7% of Females self identify more with their “Ethnic Group”


“Equally w/both”              31% of Males self identify more with “Equally w/both”

                                    35% of Females self identify more with “Equally w/both”


Are you "Out”?


“Out”                             96% of Males self identify of being “Out”

                                    98% of Females self identify of being “Out”


“Out” to Family                84% of Males self identify of being “Out” to their immediate family

                                    89% of Females self identify of being “Out” to their immediate family


“Out” to Friends               94% of Males self identify of being “Out” to their friends

                                    96% of Females self identify of being “Out” to their friends


“Out” at Work                 73% of Males self identify of being “Out” at work

                                    73% of Females self identify of being “Out” at work


At what age did you first come out?


The largest age bracket that Males (43%) and Females (41%) reported that they first came “out” was between the ages of 25 -29 years of age.


What is your current same-sex relationship status?

46% of Males and 58% Females self identify being “Partnered.”
6% of Males and 9% Females self identify that they are “Civil Union/Civil registration/Married.
11% of the Males and 21% of Females report that their current same-sex relationship is between 4 -7 years.


Have you and your partner ever had a commitment ceremony/civil union/same-sex wedding?

8% of Males and 19% of Females have had a commitment/civil union/same sex wedding


Do you have children under the age of 18 living at home?

5% of Males and 20% of Females have children under the age living at home
36% of Males and 64% of Females report that their child was conceived by them as part of a prior opposite-sex relationship


Are you planning to add children to your family in the next 3 years?

6% of Males and 17% of Females planning on adding a child to their family in the next 3 years.


Does your company or your partner’s company offer domestic partner health benefits?

36% of both Males and Females report that their company offers domestic partners health benefits.


What is your combined household income?

The median household income for both genders is $60,000 - $ 79,999.
29% of Males report house incomes of $100,000 or more compared to 21% of Females.


In what type of residence do you live?

56% of Males and 55% of Females own a “House” or “Condominium.”
20% of Males and Females have a monthly mortgage between $1,000 - $1,999.

Which best describes the area in which you live?

59% of Males and 46% of Females in the “City.”
40% of Males and 53% of Females in live in a “Suburb”, “Small Town/Village or Rural area.


Glimpse Inside Lesbian/Gay Consumer Online Census


An internet survey of 6,351 individuals who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender reveals that…

88% of the population is white
48% falls into the 18-34 age group


Self Identification

Gay                               53%

Lesbian                          36%

Bisexual                          6%

Transgender                    1%

Homosexual                     2%

Other                             2%



White                             88%

Hispanic                          8%

Black                              3%

Asian/Pacific Islander        2%

Native American/Alaskan    1%

Other                             4%



18-24                            16%

25-34                            32%

35-44                            32%

45-54                            15%

55-64                            4%

65+                               1%



Male                              55%

Female                           44%



Some high school             1%

Graduated high school       9%

Some college                   32%

College graduate              37%

Graduate degree              20%


We Are Family

Lesbian, bisexual and transgender women are almost five times as likely to have children in their households as their male counterparts.





Men                     33%

Women                 21%


Single and Dating

Men                     20%

Women                 14%


Civil Union/Married

Men                     1%

Women                 5%


Children under 18

Men                     5%

Women                 23%


Household Income


Under $30K

Men                     12%

Women                 20%


$30K - $69,999

Men                     37%

Women                 41%


$70K - $99,999

Men                     22%

Women                 20%


$100K +

Men                     29%

Women                 16%





Men                     67%

Women                 71%



Men                     14%

Women                 8%



Men                     17%

Women                 8%

From a Syracuse University, OpusComm Group, GSociety Study





ALGBTICAL   n Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Issues in Counseling of Alabama