According to a
new Gallup survey released Friday, Americans believe that gay men
and lesbians make up 25% of the population.
When pollsters asked, “Just your best
guess, what percent of Americans today would you say are gay or
lesbian?” 35 percent of respondents answered, “More than 25%” –
the most popular response.
On average, Americans believe that 1 in
4 people are gay.
A 2002 Gallup poll found lower
estimates. Americans then estimated that 21% of men were gay and
that 22% of women were lesbian.
“Americans' current collective
estimate … is likely driven more by perceptions and exposure than
by scientific measurement or reality,” the pollster said in
announcing its findings. “Additionally, Americans tend to have
difficulty estimating percentages of population groups whose numbers
are more widely known.”
Demographer Gary Gates recently
estimated that 3.5% of adults in America identify as lesbian, gay, or
bisexual, and 0.3 percent of adults are transgender. Putting the
number of LGBT Americans at 9 million, or roughly the population of
Gallup also found that Americans with
lower incomes and less education gave the highest estimates.
“Combined with Americans' record
support for legal gay relations and same-sex marriage, it is clear
that America's gay population – no matter the size – is becoming
a larger part of America's mainstream consciousness,” the pollster