Health/Fitness » Health

CDC: Only 3% of US Population is Gay

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Tuesday Jul 15, 2014

Forget about one in ten -- the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says that less than 3 percent of the U.S. population identifies as gay, lesbian or bisexual, according to their National Health Interview Survey.

The Washington Post reports the CDC's first large-scale government survey measuring sexual orientation revealed that only 1.6 percent of adults self-identify as gay or lesbian, and 0.7 percent as bisexual. The overwhelming 96.6 percent of adults labeled themselves as straight, with 1.1 percent declining to answer or saying they didn't know, or were something else. Other studies pegged the LGBT population as closer to 3.5 or 4 percent.

"This is a major step forward in trying to remedy some of these gaps in our understanding of the role sexual orientation and gender identity play in people's health and in their lives," said Gary J. Gates, a demographer at the Williams Institute, a research center at the University of California at Los Angeles that studies the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) population.

In addition, Yahoo News reports the measly amount of LGBTs that there are are more likely to smoke, drink in excess, and experience serious psychological distress.

Lesbians fared slightly worse than straight women in health, and were less likely to go to a specific health care provider for medical care.

Some researchers said that it wasn't until recently that some states added sexual orientation questions in their health surveys. Julia Dilley, an epidemiologist at Oregon Health Authority, Public Health Division, said that tracking this information would help them better address problems in different populations.

"People were afraid of political backlash. They were also concerned that people wouldn't accurately report their sexual orientation," Dilley said. "It does seems like sexual orientation has an independent influence on disparities, and adds on top of any disparity that the person is experiencing."

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


  • Ciboney, 2014-07-15 17:25:53

    It makes sense. Key term: "self-identify."

  • patroy, 2014-07-15 17:47:47

    I sure didn’t receive this survey. Nor has any of my LGBT freinds. So this survey can not be accurate.

  • , 2014-07-16 09:36:29

    Just because you didn’t receive the survey doesn’t mean its reportings aren’t accurate. They said it’s a large scale survey, which means it probably sampled people from all over the US in different areas. The only survey that goes nationwide for obvious reasons is the US Census, and its findings only say that 1.6% of the population identify as LGBT. So technically, this survey is skewed in your favor.

  • , 2014-07-16 09:36:54

    The headline is sensational, but I do not trust these results. The sample population was slightly under 35,000. The question that identified sexual orientation was basically a 1-5 choice, 1 being gay, 5 being straight. If the respondent’s answer was something other than definite, a follow-up question was asked, however that data was not included in the results. While I applaud the CDC in attempting to collect this data, I have serious questions as to the precision used to collect information about sexual orientation, as it is a voluntary response and many people are still afraid to document their orientation due to inadequate laws to protect them from actual or perceived consequences. Gender identity was completely left out of this survey. Unfortunately, even journalists don’t scrutinize the actual data provided. READ THE REPORTS!!!! lol

  • , 2014-07-16 11:04:06

    Lol! What a joke survey.....I’m sure everyone answered many identified themselves as closet cases? Really.

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