Feb 26, 2024 - News

Measuring Michigan's LGBT population

Data: UCLA Williams Institute; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios
Data: UCLA Williams Institute; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

An estimated 6% of adult Michiganders identify as LGBT, compared with 5.5% nationally.

Why it matters: It's difficult to pin down the exact size of the LGBT population in part because gold-standard data collection efforts like the decennial census or the American Community Survey lack specific relevant questions.

  • Having some sense of the community's size is vital for meeting public health and other policy needs.

Context: The estimates come by way of the Williams Institute, a UCLA Law think tank.

  • They're based on combined 2020-2021 data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Zoom in: More younger Michigan residents self-identify as LGBT than older residents.

  • 16.4% of adults ages 18-24 identify as LGBT, compared with 3.2% of those 50-64.
  • Younger people are increasingly leaving society's older gender and sexuality norms behind, with more acceptance and more people coming out.

Reality check: These findings are based on self-reporting, and people in states with hostile attitudes toward queer and transgender communities may be less forthcoming about their identity.

What they're saying: "The world is changing around us, and we have to think about what that means to shift environments and policies so that everybody can live well and live safely," Williams Institute research director Kerith Conron tells Axios.

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