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October 24, 2012Research

New Research: 3.4% of Americans Self-Identify as LGBT. What Does It Mean for Your Church?

What percentage of the United States is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered?

Well, probably the most widely reported stat said around 10% of the population identifies as homosexual. That stat came from the 1948 Alfred Kinsey book Sexual Behavior in the Human Male.

Other sources have reported mixed results:

A 1993 Janus Report estimated that nine percent of men and five percent of women had more than "occasional" homosexual relationships. The 2000 U.S. Census Bureau found that homosexual couples constitute less than 1% of American households. The Family Research Report says "around 2-3% of men, and 2% of women, are homosexual or bisexual." The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force estimates three to eight percent of both sexes. (via Gallup)

But according to a new Gallup poll-- the first of its kind-- 3.4% of America adults self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

While that is lower than what many have thought, now there is a baseline for measurement. I'd guess that the number might increase in subsequent polls as people are more willing to say they are LGBT-- the social stigma once associated with homosexuality is not as present as it once was. Even Gallup's most recent American Values Survey found that Americans are split on whether homosexual behavior is sin. A few decades ago, that would not have been the case and, I am quite certain, fewer people would have answered the question in the affirmative.

Some highlights from the research:

  • 8.3% of women age 18-29 identify as LGBT.
  • There is no significant difference in the regional location of those identifying as LGBT.
  • Those who are single (7%) or in a domestic partnership (12.8%) are most likely to identify as LGBT.

So. what does that mean for you and your church? It is a national average, but how does it impact you that 1 out of 33 people identify as LGBT, many in your community, and it's higher among some populations?

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