A total of 7.2% of U.S. adults identify as LGBTQ, and younger generations – particularly those 25 and under – are driving the numbers, according to a poll released Wednesday.
The Gallup survey of 2022 data also shows that the number of U.S adults who identified as LGBTQ has more than doubled in a decade: In 2012, Gallup found that 3.5% of U.S. adults said they were LGBTQ. That number surged to 7.1% in 2021 before holding steady last year.
The fact that the numbers stabilized in 2022 after recent dramatic jumps is not unexpected, Gallup Senior Editor Jeff Jones told USA TODAY.
“We’ve seen a doubling, representing a total 3.7 point increase in 10 years,” he said. “At that rate, in most years we would expect to see rather incremental changes on the order of tenths of a percentage point. If you look at it over time, though, the incremental increases add up to something more substantial.”
One of the key takeaways from the annual poll in recent years has been the growing presence of Generation Z in embracing new identities – an indicator Jones says is likely to continue.
“I think the data (is) clear that LGBTQ identification is highest among the younger generations,” Jones told USA TODAY. “I don’t put much stock in year-to-year increases or decreases that are within the margin of error … but over a longer period of years you’ll see a more definite trend emerge.”
What do the poll results show?
For Generation Z – those born from 1997 to 2004 – 19.7% identified as LGBTQ in the poll, which was based on aggregated data of 10,000 people.
Among Millennials – those born from 1981 to 1996 – 11.2% identified as LGBTQ.
By comparison, 3.3% of Generation X identified as LGBTQ in 2022; for baby boomers, 2.7%.
Cathy Renna, communications director for the National LGBTQ Task Force, says the poll results reflect reality as LGBTQ young people continue to blaze trails. “Who we are is rooted deeply in us and is something young people – growing up in a culture that has finally been able to tell them that they are aren’t alone, that they are beautiful and perfect exactly as they are – will never turn back from now.”