Despite years of media portrayals to the contrary, the LGBTQ+ community is extremely diverse.
More than 11 million Americans, or about 4.5% of the U.S. population, identify as LGBTQ+, according to a new survey from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. Of those 11 million LGBTQ+ people, 58% are women, 42% are people of color or non-white identified, and 29% are raising children. The Institute dove deep into the results from the Gallup Daily Tracking survey, an annual survey that garnered responses from over 341,000 Americans.
The study also noted that the United States LGBTQ+ population is overall younger than the general population. The average age of LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. is 37.3 years old while the average for non-LGBTQ+ people is 47.9 years old. Kerith Conron, research director at the Williams Institute, says this is a sign of changing attitudes.
"Younger people are more likely to actually live as LGBT and to identify that way because they are growing up in a time when it's more acceptable to acknowledge those feelings and to act on them," Conron told NBCNews.
Broken down by race, the community is 21% Latinx, 12% Black, 2% Asian American, 1% Native American, 1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and 5% identify as multiracial. This is overall more diverse than the non-LGBTQ+ population, though Conron said more research needs to determine the difference in percentages.
\u201c3/ The LGBTQ community is:\n\ud83c\udf0821% Latinx\n\u270c\ud83c\udffd12% Black\n\ud83c\udf082% Asian American\n\u270a\ud83c\udffe1% Indian and Alaska Native\n\ud83c\udf081% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander\n\ud83d\udc4b\ud83c\udfff5% more than one race\nhttps://t.co/brwf5ue29z\u201d
— Human Rights Campaign (@Human Rights Campaign)
Compared to the general population, LGBTQ+ people have worse economic outcomes, highlighting the need for more statewide nondiscrimination laws. Overall, the community has higher rates of unemployment than the general population (9% vs. 5%), higher uninsured rates (15% vs. 12%), and higher rates of food insecurity (27% vs. 15%). A larger percentage (25% vs. 18%) of queer people also have incomes lower than $24,000 per year than the general population.
When it comes to education, more LGBTQ+ people have completed high school (41% vs. 39%) or some college (30% vs. 29%) than non-LGBTQ+ people. Queer folk, however, have lower rates of completion for bachelor's degrees (17% vs. 18%) and post-grad degrees (13% vs. 14%) than their non-queer counterparts.
The Williams Institute ranked the 20 states with the highest LGBTQ+ population by percentage, as well. Though not a state, Washington, D.C., ranked the highest among LGBTQ+ people with 9.8% of survey respondents in the nation's capital identifying as queer or trans. Following Washington, D.C., is Oregon with 5.6%, Nevada with 5.5%, and Massachusetts with 5.4%. By comparison, the state with the lowest percentage was North Dakota, with 2.7%.