CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — A record 5.6% of Americans – or 18 million people – are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, a Gallup poll found on Wednesday, attributing a significant increase to greater social acceptance.
The 2020 survey showed a 24% rise from the last poll in 2017, when 4.5% of adults identified as LGBT+. Surveys have shown a steady increase since 2012.
“At a time when Americans are increasingly supportive of equal rights for gay, lesbian and transgender people, a growing percentage of Americans identify themselves as LGBT,” Gallup said in a blog post.
The 2020 U.S. election saw Pete Buttigieg run as the first openly gay presidential candidate and LGBT+ candidates scored numerous historic wins, including Sarah McBride as the first openly trans state senator.
Gallup based this finding on 15,000 interviews throughout 2020 with Americans 18 or older. They were asked: “Do you, personally, identify as Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, or Transgender?”
Of those who said yes, more than half identified as bisexual. About a quarter said they were gay with 11% identifying as lesbian and 11.3% as transgender. An additional 3.3% identified as a non-provided option such as queer.
Younger generations, especially Generation Z, answered in high numbers they identified as LGBT. One in six Generation Z members surveyed said they were LGBT. Less then 2% of adults born before 1956 said they identified as LGBT.
Women are more likely to identify as LGBT+ than men, at 6.4% compared with 4.9%, researchers found, while 13% of political liberals said they were LGBT+ versus 2.3% of conservatives.
86.7% of Americans surveyed identify as hetrosexual or straight. 7.6% did not answer the sexual orientation question.
Reuters contributed to this report.