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Poll: More people identify as LGBTQ, especially as bisexual

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A new poll from Gallup has found that a record high percentage of Americans identify as LGBTQ, largely driven by millenials and Gen Z.

The latest update on lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender identification finds 5.6% of U.S. adults identifying as LGBTQ. The current estimate is up from 4.5% in Gallup’s previous update based on 2017 data.

Of those who do say they are LGBTQ, more than half (54%) say they are bisexual.

In Gen Z, 15.9% of respondents identified as LGBTQ, compared to 9.1% with millennials and 3.8% among Gen X. Only 2% if baby boomers saw themselves as LGBT.

The vast majority of Generation Z adults who identify as LGBTQ — 72% — say they are bisexual. Thus, 11.5% of all Gen Z adults in the U.S. say they are bisexual, with about 2% each identifying as gay, lesbian or transgender.

About half of millennials (those aged 24 to 39 in 2020) who identify as LGBTQ say they are bisexual. In older age groups, expressed bisexual preference is not significantly more common than expressed gay or lesbian preference.

significant gender differences are seen in sexual identity, as well as differences by people’s political ideology:

  • Women are more likely than men to identify as LGBT (6.4% vs. 4.9%, respectively).
  • Women are more likely to identify as bisexual — 4.3% do, with 1.3% identifying as lesbian and 1.3% as something else. Among men, 2.5% identify as gay, 1.8% as bisexual and 0.6% as something else.
  • 13.0% of political liberals, 4.4% of moderates and 2.3% of conservatives say they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
  • Differences are somewhat less pronounced by party identification than by ideology, with 8.8% of Democrats, 6.5% of independents and 1.7% of Republicans identifying as LGBTQ.
  • There are no meaningful educational differences — 5.6% of college graduates and 5.7% of college nongraduates are LGBTQ.

Gallup said that the pronounced generational differences raise questions about whether higher LGBTQ identification in younger than older Americans reflects a true shift in sexual orientation, or if it reflects a greater willingness of younger people to identify as LGBTQ. To the extent it reflects older Americans not wanting to acknowledge an LGBTQ orientation, the Gallup estimates may underestimate the actual population prevalence of it.

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