Updated Feb 19, 2022 - Politics & Policy

The number of LGBTQ-identifying adults is soaring

Americans who self-identified as LGBT in 2021, by generation
Data: Gallup; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

One in five Gen Z adults identify as LGBTQ — and that number is only expected to go up, according to a Gallup poll released Thursday.

Why it matters: People who identify as LGBTQ could make up 10 to 15% of the adult population "in the not too distant future" as Gen Z and millennials comprise of an increasing share of the adult population, Jeff Jones, the author of the Gallup poll, told Axios.

Driving the news: The percentage of U.S. adults who identify as LGBTQ has doubled over the past decade, from 3.5% in 2012 to 7.1% in 2021.

  • Gen Z adults who identify as LGBTQ has increased from 10.5% in 2017 to 20.8% in 2021.
  • Millennials, ages 26 to 41, identifying as LGBTQ increased from 5.8% in 2012 to 10.5% in 2021.
  • The number of traditionalists (those born before 1946), baby boomers and Generation X adults who identify as LGBTQ has held relatively steady.
  • Gen Zers who have turned 18 since 2018 are more likely than older members of Gen Z to identify as LGBTQ, so the number of LGBTQ adults will likely increase as all Gen Zers reach adulthood, Jones said.

Respondents were asked if they identify as lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or something other than heterosexual — and could pick as many options as applied to them.

  • Those who responded with another identity, like queer or pansexual, were recorded as "other LGBT" and were included in the estimate.

Between the lines: 57% of LGBTQ Americans identify as bisexual, the most common identification among adults surveyed.

  • Gen Z women are roughly 3 times more likely than men to identify as LGBTQ and Millennial women are about two times as likely than men to identify as such, according to Gallup.

The big picture: The increasing number of young adults self-identifying as LGBTQ underscores changing societal norms, Jones said.

  • "The kids are growing up now ... in a very different environment," he said, adding that LGBTQ young adults are "much more likely because of their environment to acknowledge that and to accept that compared to people in the past who were in a similar situation."

Methodology: 12,416 adults ages 18 and older surveyed via telephone polls between January and December 2021.

Editor's note: This story originally published on Feb. 17.

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