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Millennials, Women Driving LGBT Growth in US

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The percentage of Americans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) continues to increase and is now at its highest point since Gallup began tracking the group in 2012.   

The increase has been driven almost totally by millennials.

According to a Gallup poll released this month, 4.5 percent of U. S. citizens identify as LGBT, up from 4.1 percent in 2016 and 3.5 percent in 2012.

Gallup’s estimates are based on those respondents who say “yes” when asked, “Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender?” Extrapolation to the latest census estimate of adults 18 and older in the U.S. suggests that more than 11 million adults identify as LGBT in the country today.

The survey found millennials to have the highest percentage who identify as LGBT.  The age group is defined as those born between 1980 and 1999. According to Gallup, 8.1 percent claim they are LGBT up from 5.8 percent in 2012.

Other age groups are static or slightly declining. The LGBT percentage in Generation X (those born from 1965 to 1979) was up only .2 percent from 2016 to 2017. There was no change last year in LGBT percentage among baby boomers (born 1946 through 1964) and traditionalists (born prior to 1946).

The other group driving the numbers are women.  

Overall, 5.1 percent of women in 2017 identified as LGBT, compared with 3.9 percent of men. The change among men over time has been minimal, with the LGBT percentage edging up from 3.4 percent in 2012 to 3.7 percent both last year and this year. On the other hand, the percentage of women identifying as LGBT has risen from 3.5 percent in 2012 to 5.1 percent today, with the largest jump occurring between 2016 and 2017.

In its conclusion, Gallup says one contributing factor for the increase is a greater comfort among respondents to identify as LGBT.

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Bob Ditmer has worked in Christian media for more than 20 years including positions with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and Focus on the Family.