Thursday, October 18, 2012

A new Gallup survey, touted as the largest of its kind, estimates that 3.4% of American adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender

The findings were based on interviews with more than 121,000 people. Gallup said that it is the largest study ever aimed at calculating the nation's LGBT population. The report's lead author, demographer Gary Gates of the UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute, said that he hoped the findings would help puncture some stereotypes about gays and lesbians while illustrating the diversity of their community. "Contemporary media often think of LGBT people as disproportionately white, male, urban and pretty wealthy," he said. "But this data reveal that relative to the general population, the LGBT population has a larger proportion of non-white people and clearly is not overly wealthy." According to the survey, which was conducted between June and September 2012, 4.6% of African-Americans identify as LGBT, 4% of Hispanics, 4.3% of Asians and 3.2% of whites. Overall, a third of those identifying as LGBT are non-white, the report said. In contrast to some previous, smaller studies, the Gallup survey found that identification as LGBT is highest among Americans with the lowest levels of education. Among those with a high school education or less, 3.5% identify as LGBT, compared with 2.8% of those with a college degree and 3.2% of those with postgraduate education. A similar pattern was found regarding income groups. More than 5% of those with annual incomes of less than $24,000 identify as LGBT, compared to 2.8% of those making more than $60,000 a year. Among those who report income, about 16% of LGBT individuals have incomes above $90,000 per year, compared with 21% of the overall adult population, the Gallup survey found. It said that 35% of those who identify as LGBT report incomes of less than $24,000 a year, compared to 24% for the population in general. Gates said that he was struck by the geographical spread of the LGBT population - pegged at 3.7% in the East, 3.6% in the West, 3.4% in the Midwest and 3.2% in the South. The overall 3.4% figure is similar to a 3.8% estimate made previously by Gates after averaging a group of smaller U.S. surveys conducted from 2004 to 2008.

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