An estimated 3.5% of adults in the United States identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual and an estimated 0.3% of adults are transgender.
- Gary Gates, How many people are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender?, the Williams Institute (at the UCLA School of Law), April 2011
Jan Hoffman reports that a 2015 survey of 18,494 Wisconsin high school students found that 1.5 percent identified themselves as transgender, and a 2006 survey of 1,032 Boston high school students found 1.6 percent identified as transgender. She notes that survey data of Massachusetts and California adults found only 0.3 percent considered themselves transgender.
"Why," she asks, "are the numbers larger for adolescents than adults?" Possible answers she considers include the survey situation, the way the question is worded, and "adolescents who don’t read the question carefully." Somehow they fail to include the obvious answer that the rate of transgenderism is increasing. Perhaps that is because it is too awkward to acknowledge such a growth of a literally abnormal sexual orientation. Similarly, although gay men and women are much more in evidence than formerly, the question of whether the rate of homosexuality is increasing receives almost no attention, perhaps because raising it would be politically incorrect.
- Jan Hoffman, As Attention Grows, Transgender Children’s Numbers Are Elusive, NYT, May 17, 2016
"Our current best estimate of the percentage of adults who identify as transgender in the United States is double that of the estimate produced by Gary J. Gates in 2011. Several reasons may account for the difference. A perceived increase in visibility and social acceptance of transgender people may increase the number of individuals willing to identify as transgender on a government-administered survey. The Gates estimate was based on data from only two states with very small samples. The current study analyzes population-based data from 19 states that identify transgender individuals. This provides larger samples and a wealth of information about transgender-identified adults not previously available. As a result, more sophisticated estimation procedures are now possible that produce more detailed and robust estimates than were possible in 2011.''
- Flores et al., How Many Adults Identify as Transgender in the United States?, the Williams Institute, June 2016, p. 6
- About 1.4 million adults in the United States identify as transgender, double a widely used previous estimate, according to an analysis based on new federal and state data.
- As the national debate escalates over accommodations for transgender people, the new figure, though still just 0.6 percent of the adult population, is likely to raise questions about the sufficiency of services to support a population that may be larger than many policy makers assumed. ...
- The Williams Institute is the research group that produced a widely accepted estimate five years ago. Its new number was drawn from a much larger federal database than it used to reach the earlier projection of 0.3 percent, or 700,000 people.
- Noting that younger adults ages 18 to 24 were more likely than older ones to say they were transgender, researchers said that the new estimates reflected in part a growing awareness of transgender identity.
- - JAN HOFFMAN, Estimate of U.S. Transgender Population Doubles to 1.4 Million Adults, NYT, JUNE 30, 2016