Saturday, May 23, 2015
Poll shows that Americans think 25% of the population are lesbians or gay men - the actual figure: less than 4%
Americans seem to have absolutely no idea just how many of their fellow citizens are lesbians or gay men. In fact, they think that 23% of Americans, or almost one in four, are are gays or lesbians, a Gallup survey found. That's way off: The polling organization most recently found that less than 4% self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. A third of people surveyed believed that lesbians and gays made up more than 25% of the population. Just 9% of those in the survey correctly stated that they thought the group made up less than 5% of the population. It's unclear why people think there are six times as many lesbians and gays as there actually are. "Part of the explanation for the inaccurate estimates of the gay and lesbian population rests with Americans' general unfamiliarity with numbers and demography," Gallup ventured, noting that people also overestimate the size of the African-American and Hispanic populations in the United States, although usually only by a factor of two. "The overestimation [of the size of the gay and lesbian population] may also reflect prominent media portrayals of gay characters on television and in movies, even as far back as 2002, and perhaps the high visibility of activists who have pushed gay causes, particularly legalizing same-sex marriage."