Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Survey: 2 Percent of the US Identifies as Lesbian, Gay, or Bisexual

The first large-scale survey estimates America's LGB populations.

by Anna Pulley
Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 11:00 AM

About 2 percent of the US identifies as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, according to a first-of-its-kind national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In a report released Tuesday, the CDC found that, of the 34,557 surveyed, 96.6 percent identified as straight, 1.6 percent identified as lesbian or gay, 0.7 percent identified as bisexual, and 1.1 percent identified as "something else," "refuse to answer," or "I don't know the answer."

It seems strange that in the year of our lord Lady Gaga 2014, no one has tried to tally the amount of LGBT people in the US (and indeed, the survey still didn't include trans people in its numbers). Previously, such as in the 2010 Census, the only queer people counted were same-sex couples who were co-habitating. Such data is useful, of course, especially since that's where we found out that Oakland has more lesbian couples per capita than any other California city (USGAY!), but under that rigid rubric, whole swathes of queer people were excluded from the count. 
click to enlarge gay_oakland.jpg

The 2 percent figure is also lower than previous national estimates. A 2012 Gallup poll found that about 3-4 percent of US citizens identified as LGBT. But if we throw in the 1.1 percent Something Elses, and factor in those who are closeted, repressed, or Republican Senators, the number would be similar to Gallup's estimations.

The survey also found that, unsurprisingly, bisexuals were more likely to experience "serious psychological distress" compared to their straight counterparts. Bisexuals also "failed to obtain needed medical care" at higher rates than both straights and gays.

Other highlights of the survey include the fact that LGB folks are more likely to be smokers and binge drinkers (consuming five or more drinks per day), and that gay men are less likely to be obese than straight men, which just goes to show you that a little HJ goes a long way when it comes to gym motivation. 

On the whole, the CDC's survey is a good jumping off point for tallying the amount of openly queer people in our great nation. Thanks to such efforts, we no longer have to estimate the LGB population based on how many people watched RuPaul's Drag Race (just kidding).

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