Report: LGBTQ people represent 5.5% of US population

Crowds hover around Ginger's Bar at Brooklyn Pride.
Crowds hover around Ginger’s Bar at Brooklyn Pride.
Donna Aceto

Around 5.5% of people, or about 14 million people, identify as part of the LGBTQ community in the United States, according to new state-by-state research published in December by the Williams Institute of UCLA School of Law. The numbers show an uptick from the Williams Institute’s 2019 report, which showed that 4.5% of the US population identified as LGBTQ.

The report, which pulls from data in the 2020-2021 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, outlined the LGBTQ population of each state and used those numbers to calculate national, regional, and state-based differences in the LGBTQ population across the nation.

The region with the greatest share of queer people is the south, which has 36% of America’s LGBTQ population — or five million people — according to the research. The state with the most LGBTQ people overall is California, with 1.5 million people.

The state with the greatest percentage of LGBTQ adults is Oregon, at 7.8%, followed by Delaware, where 7.5% of adults identify as part of the queer community. In Washington, DC, 14% of people identify as LGBTQ, meaning DC has nearly twice the proportion of LGBTQ people as any state.

The states with smaller LGBTQ populations include West Virginia, Mississippi, and North Carolina, where around 4% of people identify as LGBTQ. In terns of total numbers, Wyoming is in last place nationally with just 26,300 LGBTQ adults, followed by North Dakota’s 28,400 people. And while California stands out as the state with the most LGBTQ people, Texas ranks second with one million LGBTQ adults, followed by Florida (898,000) and New York (853,600).

By region, no area comes close to matching the south’s five million LGBTQ adults. The west has 3.4 million LGBTQ adults, followed by the midwest, with 2.9 million, and the northeast, with 2.6 million.

When broken up by age group, the 18-24 age range leads the way with 4.65 million LGBTQ adults. Among 25-to-34-year-olds, 9%, or four million, identify as LGBTQ. People 65 and older make up the smallest part of the LGBTQ community by age group, with just 924,000 people.