Feb 20, 2024 - News

Young adults make up larger share of LGBT Utahns

Data: UCLA Williams Institute; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: UCLA Williams Institute; Chart: Axios Visuals

Utahns between the ages of 18-24 make up the state's largest age group of people who identify as LGBT, according to estimates from UCLA's Williams Institute, a think tank focused on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy.

The big picture: It's difficult to pin down the exact size of the LGBT population nationwide or in any given state, in part because gold-standard data collection efforts like the decennial census or the American Community Survey lack specific relevant questions.

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

By the numbers: An estimated 6% of Utah adults identify as LGBT, as compared to 5.5% nationally, Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report.

  • 15.3% of Utahns ages 18-24 identify as LGBT, compared to 8.7% of people 25-34, 3.8% for ages 35-49, 2.6% between 50-64 and 1.7% who are 65 or older.

Details: The estimates are based on combined 2020-2021 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a CDC effort to collect wide-ranging health info through phone surveys.

Reality check: These findings are based on self-reporting, and people in states with hostile attitudes toward LGBT 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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