Groundbreaking Study Ranks States by LGBT Population

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 16 2013 3:00 PM

Washington, D.C. Has Highest Percentage of LGBT Population, According to Nationwide Count

97905278
LGBT communities make up a larger percentage of the population in states where social acceptance is greater

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

It isn’t even close. Ten percent of adult residents in Washington, D.C. identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, according to a groundbreaking new Gallup study that for the first time has estimated LGBT population by state. The next state on the list—Hawaii—is almost five percentage points lower with 5.1 percent of the population identifying as LGBT. Illustrating just how much of an outlier the District of Columbia truly is, all states are within two percentage points of the 3.5 percent national average.

The fact that there are lots of self-identified gay people in D.C. is hardly surprising, but the Gallup study is significant because it’s the largest of its kind to analyze the distribution of the LGBT population in the United States and the first time the sample size has been large enough to provide estimates by state. “This is simply new ground—these are not just new statistics, they are the only estimates we have of these people at the state level,” UCLA scholar Gary J. Gates, who carried out the study along with Gallup, told the Los Angeles Times. “There is no other data out there to verify these numbers, which constitute a significant advancement in our understanding of the LGBT population.” (See the full state listing after the jump.)

Advertisement

Although there are LGBT communities across the country—starting from as low as 1.7 percent of the population in North Dakota—researchers found that generally speaking the percentage of the LGBT population was higher in states where there is a higher level of social acceptance. Except for South Dakota, all the states with an LGBT population of more than 4 percent “have laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and allow same-sex couples to marry, enter into a civil union, or register as domestic partners,” according to Gallup.

Gallup had released the first part of its data in October, and had already made it clear there were some obvious potential pitfalls, mainly that people might not be honest or might not see themselves as falling within any of the traditional LGBT labels.

1361044826631

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.