Protesters hold rainbow flags as they march on Seventh Avenue at the People's March for Roxanne Moore protest in Times Square in New York City on October 2. Gallup said the growing number of Americans who identify as LGBT is due to a greater portion of younger generations belonging to the demographic. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 24 (UPI) -- A growing number of Americans identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, a Gallup poll released Wednesday indicates.
The survey found that 5.6% of Americans identified as LGBT in 2020, while 86.7% said they were heterosexual or straight, and 7.6% chose not to answer the question.
In 2017, the last time Gallup asked the question, 4.5% of Americans said they were LGBT, and in 2012, the first year the question was asked, 3.5% identified as LGBT.
"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. "With younger generations far more likely than older generations to consider themselves LGBT, that growth should continue."
Of those surveyed, 54.6% of the people who identified as LGBT said they were bisexual, 24.5% said they were gay, 11.7% said they were lesbian and 11.3% said they were transgender. More than 3% said they were non-heterosexual but didn't identify with the LGBT options.
Respondents were allowed to choose more than one identity in the survey, so the responses added up to more than 100%.
Among the entire U.S. adult population, 3.1% identify as bisexual, 1.4% as gay, 0.7% as lesbian and 0.6% as transgender.
Gallup said the reason LGBT identification is on the rise in the United States is that younger generations are "far more likely" to consider themselves among this demographic. About 16% of adult members of Generation Z identify as LGBT, 9.1% of Millennials, 3.8% of Generation X, 2% of Baby Boomers and 1.3% of Traditionalists.
"The pronounced generational differences raise questions about whether higher LGBT identification in younger than older Americans reflects a true shift in sexual orientation, or if it merely reflects a greater willingness of younger people to identify as LGBT," Gallup said in a release. "To the extent it reflects older Americans not wanting to acknowledge an LGBT orientation, the Gallup estimates may underestimate the actual population prevalence of it."
The survey also found that women are more likely to identify as LGBT than men -- 6.4% to 4.9%. Women are more likely to identify as bisexual (4.3%) than lesbian (1.3%), while men are more likely to identify as gay (2.5%) than bisexual (1.8%).
Broken down by political beliefs, 13% of liberals, 4.4% of moderates and 2.3% of conservatives are LGBT. There are no significant educational differences, with 5.6% of college graduates and 5.7% of college non-graduates identifying as LGBT.
Gallup surveyed 15,349 adults in 2020 for the survey, with a 1% margin of error.