A 2016 LGBT Pride parade in San Francisco. A new Gallup, Inc. survey shows Vermont is the leading state in percentage of residents identifying themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Vermont leads all states in residents' self-identification as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, a Gallup Inc. survey released Tuesday says.
The District of Columbia's LGBT identification of 8.6 percent exceeds all states, but 5.3 percent of Vermont adults identify themselves as LGBT. Vermont is followed on Gallup's list by Massachusetts, California and Oregon, each at 4.9 percent and Nevada at 4.8 percent. They are followed by Delaware, New Hampshire, Washington, New York and Maine. States with the lowest percentage of LGBT-identifying residents are South Dakota at two percent, North Dakota at 2.7 percent, Idaho at 2.8 percent and South Carolina and Montana, each with three percent.
All states in the top 10, except for Nevada, are coastal states. States in the bottom 10 rend to be in the Midwest and South.
The figures are consistent with a national increase in people identifying themselves as LGBT, from 3.5 percent in 2012 to 4.1 percent in 2016. Gallup's figures are based on state-level estimates since 2012, and 2015 and 2016 data from over 400,000 interviews.
The increases are indicative of social acceptance of the LGBT population, and individuals' willingness to identify themselves in surveys as LGBT, Gallup said. It also said that nearly all increases in LGBT identification in the past five years came from the millennial population, generally defined as those with birth years and ending birth years ranging from the mid-1990s to early 2000s.
Dividing the country into eight geographic regions, the survey said the Pacific region of California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii had the highest percentage of respondents, 4.9 percent, identifying themselves as LGBT. It also has the largest increase from 2012-2013 to 2015-2016, at 0.7 percent.
The survey noted that although the Southwest has a relatively large number of millennials in its population, at 34 percent, it is the region least likely to approve of gay and lesbian relationships. The low level of perceived acceptance, 51 percent, could be a factor in respondents' self-identification as LGBT in the survey. In the New England region, in contrast, 31 percent of respondents were millennials, and 92 percent of the general survey population said it approves of gay and lesbian relationships.
The survey was conducted using a random sample of 473,243 U.S. adults age 18 and over. Interviews were done by telephone in 2012 and 2013, with 710,252 surveyed in 2015 and 2016 by the Gallup Daily tracking survey and the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey. Respondents were asked "Do you personally identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender?" The margin of error for each region varied from plus-or-minus 0.1 to plus-or-minus 0.4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. It varied between states from plus-or-minus 0.2 to plus-or-minus 1.6 percentage points, depending on sample size.