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US LGBTQ population up to 20M, says HRC

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US LGBTQ population

US LGBTQ population up to 20M, says HRC

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation reported that the US LGBTQ population is now estimated to reach at least 20 million adults.

The LGBTQ organization based their report on data from the Census Bureau, of which eight percent of respondents to the latter’s Household Pulse Survey identified as LGBTQ.

This is double the earlier estimate of the LGBTQ population’s size in the US.

In 2011, the UCLA School of Law William Hill Institute estimated that there are approximately nine million LGBTQ Americans.

US LGBTQ population: We are here

The HRC noted this number indicates that the LGBTQ community is more or less everywhere.

“This data shows what we’ve suspected: our community is larger and more widespread than we could have known up to this point,” Joni Madison, HRC interim president, said.

Jay Brown, senior vice president of the HRC Foundation, agreed, saying that “you can’t ignore that we exist when we start showing up in these in these really powerful surveys.”

Aside from the increase in total, the report indicated that more than two million adults in the US could identify as transgender. This is higher than earlier estimates of 1.4 million.

Of the total number, the largest contingent are bisexuals, comprising around four percent of respondents in the national survey.

Meanwhile, two percent of the respondents identified with a sexual orientation other than lesbian, gay, bisexual or straight.

Importance of more inclusive surveys

HRC officers noted the importance of more inclusive surveys. Charleigh Flohr, an HRC senior research manager, told USA TODAY their report is based on public data taken by the Household Pulse Survey of the Census Bureau.

Because this data was not taken from the Census Bureau’s decennial census, the results show researchers getting better at researching the community, Flohr said.

More importantly, Flohr said this shows “society is growing more accepting of the community, and people are feeling like they’re able to identify themselves in surveys and are able to be themselves in their daily lives.”

However, Brown also told USA TODAY that the surveys could still be improved by including options to share identities like being non-binary, pansexual, or asexual.

“We really do encourage folks who are collecting and allowing data collection efforts to make as many expansive choices as possible and capture the full breadth of the community,” Brown said.

He pointed out, “Despite all the things that are in front of us, we still feel like we can be more visible and more open about our identity in these surveys.”

How to survey the US LGBTQ population

In a press release, the HRC Foundation noted the many attempts to document the size and demographics of the LGBTQ community in the US, as well as the challenges.

The organization said: “Sampling is difficult and bias also plays a role in respondents’ answers.”

Previously, the American Values Atlas of the Public Religious Research Institute (PRRI)– an earlier oft-cited and comprehensive study of the LGBTQ community– suggest that 4.4 percent of Americans identify as LGBTQ.

“Today’s estimates nearly double that number– and may still be an undercount,” the organization said.

For one, LGBTQ people live in every community in every state, they said. In fact, states less populated than California and Texas may tend to have a higher percentage of population that identify as LGBTQ.

Given that data from Census’ surveys is used to allocate federal funding every year, the absence of more inclusive questions negatively impacts support for the LGBTQ community, they said.

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