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What Percentage of the Population is Gay

LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. Common variants of LGBT are LGBTQ, LGBTQ+, LGBTQIA, and LGBTQIA+, which do not represent different community politics but are preferred by some. These variants are more inclusive of all individuals who are non-heterosexual and non-cisgender instead of exclusively applying to people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

Unfortunately, LGBTQ+ people face discrimination, inequality, and violence worldwide. Countries have different rights encompassing everything from legal recognition of same-sex marriages to the death penalty. In the United States, the landmark Supreme Court case, Obergefell vs. Hodges, ruled it unconstitutional for the state to ban same-sex marriages. As of 2020, 37 states and D.C. have legalized gay marriage. The remaining 13 states have a ban on same-sex marriages; however, eight have court rulings in favor of allowing them.

LGBTQ+ Population by State

The demographics of sexual orientation are very difficult to track because there are no official ways to obtain this information. While surveys gather self-reported data, there are challenges to researchers in inquiring on such a sensitive subject. Also, different questions yield different results. For example, one set of questions may seek self-reported data on same-sex sexual experiences, while another set may seek data surrounding personal identification as lesbian, gay, or bisexual.

The UCLA Williams Institute analyzed surveys conducted by Gallup Polling from 2012 to 2017 and CDC data from 2015 and 2017 to gather estimates of the LGBT population in each state.

The states with the highest LGBTQ+ populations, as a percentage of the total population, are:

  1. District of Columbia - 9.8%
  2. Oregon - 5.6%
  3. Nevada - 5.5%
  4. Massachusetts - 5.4%
  5. California - 5.3
  6. Vermont - 5.2%
  7. Washington - 5.2%
  8. New York - 5.1%
  9. Maine - 4.9%
  10. New Hampshire - 4.7%

In terms of actual population numbers, California has the largest LGBTQ+ population of 1,859,000. San Francisco and Santa Rosa are considered the gayest cities in the U.S.. Seattle, Boston, and Portland finish the top five.

What Percentage of the Population is Gay

State LGBTQ Population LGBTQ Population per 100k
Massachusetts335,0004,846
Oregon207,0004,826
Vermont30,0004,813
New York913,0004,731
California1,859,0004,693
Nevada145,0004,551
Maine60,0004,430
Washington342,0004,386
New Hampshire59,0004,300
Hawaii59,0004,195
Rhode Island44,0004,145
Delaware40,0004,039
New Mexico85,0004,038
Florida886,0004,037
Illinois506,0004,026
Indiana272,0003,997
Colorado234,0003,970
Ohio462,0003,944
Georgia425,0003,924
New Jersey343,0003,865
Maryland234,0003,858
West Virginia68,0003,846
Pennsylvania490,0003,827
Arizona286,0003,803
Connecticut133,0003,744
Michigan373,0003,733
Minnesota210,0003,680
Louisiana169,0003,652
Virginia308,0003,580
North Carolina382,0003,570
Texas1,053,0003,542
Wisconsin207,0003,537
Missouri217,0003,518
Oklahoma138,0003,458
Alaska25,0003,451
Nebraska67,0003,432
Iowa106,0003,346
Mississippi99,0003,337
Kentucky144,0003,214
Tennessee223,0003,211
South Carolina167,0003,164
Kansas92,0003,154
Utah104,0003,141
Arkansas95,0003,131
Wyoming18,0003,098
Alabama147,0002,979
South Dakota25,0002,788
Montana30,0002,765
North Dakota20,0002,597
Idaho48,0002,580

What Percentage of the Population is Gay