Gallup Poll shows the growing power of the LGBTQ community

Black woman under large rainbow colored flag
Stonewall Day 2019 file photo

HRC analysis of data says the poll shows a growing percentage of LGBTQ folks in Gen Z

Gallup released new polling that showed a growing percentage of adults in the U.S. are LGBTQ self-identifying. The new poll found that 7.1% of U.S. adults identify as LGBT and/or some other LGBTQ+ identity, closely mirroring the findings in a Human Rights Campaign (HRC) analysis of data in the Census Bureau’s recent Household Pulse Survey, which found roughly 8% of respondents identified themselves as LGBTQ.

“The LGBTQ+ community is a diverse and ever-growing force in the United States as the number of American adults who identify as LGBTQ+ continues to grow each year,” said Joni Madison, Interim Human Rights Campaign President. “This growth shows the impact of a more inclusive society and, closely mirrors HRC findings. Both emphasize 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.”

One of the key results from the Gallup poll is that it shows the estimate of LGBTQ self-identifying American adults has risen by more than a full percentage point from Gallup’s previous 2020 update. And that result has almost doubled in size from the 2012 estimate when Gallup first measured it.7.1% of U.S. adults identify as LGBTQ today. The current estimate is up from 5.6% in Gallup’s 2020 data and 4.5% in Gallup’s 2017 data.

One in five Gen Z adults (those aged 18-24 at the time of the survey) identifies as LGBTQ, more than any previous generation. LGBTQ identification has grown across all identities over the last year.

Bisexual identification is most common; accounting for more than 56% of all LGBTQ identified adults, and approximately 4% of the U.S. adult population. One third of LGBTQ adults identified as gay (20.7%) and/or lesbian (13.9%), accounting for approximately 2.5% of the U.S. adult population. An estimated one in ten LGBTQ adults identifies as transgender, accounting for 0.7% of the U.S. adult population. This includes approximately 2.1% of Gen Z adults, 1% of Millenials, 0.8% of women, and 0.6% of men.

The results are based on aggregated 2021 data, including interviews with more than 12,000 American adults. While LGBTQ identification has been stable amid older generations, it is consistently rising among younger generations. From 2020 to 2021, the number of Gen Z adults that identify as LGBTQ has increased from one in six in 2020 to one in five in 2021, an increase of four percentage points in a single year.

In December 2021, the Human Rights Campaign released an analysis of data in the Census Bureau’s recent Household Pulse Survey, which found roughly 8% of respondents identified themselves as LGBT, with millions more potentially identifying as terms beyond these. it suggests that previous surveys may have undercounted the population. Gallup’s recent survey results corroborate this estimate, and based on the 2021 survey, Gallup anticipates that the proportion of LGBTQ Americans “should exceed 10% in the near future.”

Gallup asks Americans whether they personally identify as straight or heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender as part of the demographic information it collects on all U.S. telephone surveys. Respondents can also volunteer any other sexual orientation or gender identity they prefer. The newest results are based on aggregated 2021 data interviews with more than 12,000 U.S. adults.

According to Gallup, 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. Roughly 21% of Generation Z Americans who have reached adulthood—those born between 1997 and 2003—identify as LGBT. That is nearly double the proportion of millennials who do so, while the gap widens even further when compared with older generations.

Gen Z adults made up 7% of Gallup’s 2017 national sample, but in 2021 accounted for 12% as more from that generation reached age 18 over the past four years. In contrast, the proportion of those born before 1946 has fallen from 11% in 2017 to 8%.