POLL: DC, Hawaii Have Biggest Percentage Of Out Gays, North Dakota, Montana The Smallest

Gallup, perhaps the most respected name in polling, has released a new survey purporting to indicate what percentage of Americans are gay, by state.

Between June and December of last year, more than 200,00 respondents were asked “Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender?”

The variance from state to state was astounding: In North Dakota, 1.7% answered “yes,” while in Washington, DC, a full 10% did. Hawaiians said yes, while in Montana Mississippi and Tennessee, only 2.6% did. Still, discounting the District, all 50 states were within two percentage points of the 3.5% nationwide average Gallup announced last October.

But can a phone survey really quantify something like sexual orientation or gender identity? Are they in the same category? A person can be both bisexual and transgender—or not prefer those hard-and-fast labels at all. And the survey can’t count the number of respondents who don’t feel comfortable disclosing their homosexuality to a stranger on a phone but might be out to some degree in their daily lives.

Gallup researchers explained:

Measuring sexual orientation and gender identity can be challenging because these concepts involve complex social and cultural patterns. There are a number of ways to measure lesbian, gay, and bisexual orientation, and transgender status.

Gallup chose a broad measure of personal identification as LGBT because this grouping of four statuses is commonly used in current American discourse, and as a result has important cultural and political significance.

One limitation of this approach is that it is not possible to separately consider differences among lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, or transgender individuals. A second limitation is that this approach measures broad self-identity, and does not measure sexual or other behavior, either past or present.

Below is the full rundown. Do the numbers jibe for you?

LGBT by State, 2012

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  • Brian

    I’m openly gay but I do not identify as gay. That’s because I don’t base my identity on my sexuality. My identity is much bigger than what I do in bed.

    Therefore, you need to be careful when interpreting data based on identity notions.

  • Dakotahgeo

    As a former North Dakotan, there are several reasons why the percentage is so low:
    1) There are close to no opportunities for work (or anything else) in ND;
    2) The job market is now only looking for oil-related workers because of new-found oil;
    3) Because most GLBT persons leave the state after high school graduation, the social opportunities are very few.
    4) In the GLBT peoples’ favor: They are the nicest, warmest people one would want to meet.
    5) Most of those left simply don’t base their entire being on their sexual orientation. This is good!

  • the other Greg

    “Gallup, perhaps the most respected name in polling…” ?

    You mean the Gallup that in poll after poll last fall had Romney ahead by 6 or 7%, when almost every other pollster had Obama ahead?

    @Brian: Judging by your previous posts, Brian, you’re openly gay while basing your identity on hating other gay people?

  • Merv

    @Dakotahgeo: Curious, how do you explain the wide difference between North Dakota and South Dakota? South Dakota is tied with Massachusetts as seventh most gay state, while North Dakota is dead last, and by a big margin from the next state up.

  • Dakotahgeo

    With a difference in population of only 133,726 (SD: 833,374-North Dakota 699,726 as of July 2012), South Dakota has always been a more progressive state GLBT-wise than North Dakota. Population plus negative attitudes toward the GLBT community does account for a wide spread of the percentages, I believe. Outside of that, North Dakota is a much more conservative state. South Dakota, not so much anymore.

  • Scribe38

    @the other Greg: hehe. bad boy…. DC here I come.

  • David Gervais

    Do any readers know how to put this into a map layout, and then overlay it with another data set such as GDP or educational achievement?

    I thing the intersection would be very interesting, but I don’t know how to do it.

  • FStratford


    Dont believe him. South Dakota has gay bars. North Dakota has none. Fargo, the most cosmopolitan city, if you can call it that, is filled with religious nutjobs.

    When I lived in MN, all the gay Fargo folks I met through friends are “ex gay” and married and believe that gayness can be cured by conditioning

    They are not nice either. A straight friend of mine who expressed opposition to the constitutional ban on gay marriage, based on his own discernment of the scriptures, was quickly shunned by his family.

    Right across the red river from Fargo is Moorhead. Now that makes Fargo a bit more interesting. But that is because its in the MN side and there the peole dont have sticks in their asses

  • Dakotahgeo

    @FStratford: ROFLMBO!!! North Dakota does indeed have gay bars, just not in Fargo or Grand Forks. Now Moorhead, MN had one gay bar that was very friendly, the I-Beam Bar, but unfortunately it has closed.
    Do not be deceived… there are plenty of people who have sticks stuck up their asses in all locations… it just depends on how YOU act toward them. I suspect you may have a bit of an “attitude” problem. Don’t go near humans with a chip on your shoulder… not good karma!

  • Dakotahgeo

    @Dakotahgeo: I forgot to add my signature… Dakotahgeo, M.Div. Pastor/Chaplain

  • stadacona

    Very interesting stats and once again, the queer activists are proven liars with the false claim that GLB is 10%. LGBT is less than 5%, and is proven by these stats.

  • MikenStL

    @stadacona: I think all these stats have “proven” is that you seem not to read that well and like to jump to calling people liars. The article states that the numbers are most likely underestimates of the LGBT population due to people either being in the closet, or feeling that it’s none of their business and not disclosing. Plus the 10% comes from the Kinsey Study in 1948. If you go to Wikipedia you’ll see part of it quoted as noted below….

    Kinsey reports
    Main article: Kinsey Reports
    Men: 11.6% of white males aged 20–35 were given a rating of 3 for this period of their lives.[7] The study also reported that 10% of American males surveyed were “more or less exclusively homosexual for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55” (in the 5 to 6 range).[7]

  • The Real Mike in Asheville

    @stadacona: Troll troll troll away little ugly troll.

  • Dakotahgeo

    @The Real Mike in Asheville: Thank you! (I think we found the person with a stick up his a$$!)

  • FStratford


    Where in ND are the gay bars? Name one. Or do you mean the “closeted” bar in Bismark where gays go and in turn they are tolerated? Hmm…. that’s like less frienlier than an avearage bar in NYC. And that still doesn’t disprove my observation about the whole state as, on average, homophobic. I’ve never met so many people who openly believe that gay conversion is a science than when I went there.

    And no, I don’t go to places with a chip on my shoulder or stick up my ass. I just observed. No one even knew I was gay. That is how they ended up disclosing their real feelings towards gays to me. I just observed and never went back… I figured I can spend my time, the only real valuable resource I have, in much friendlier states.

  • FStratford


    “… it just depends on how YOU act toward them”

    Yeah, sure. You are one of those people who thinks that if we just play nice, people will eventually accept us. When I hear people say that, I gag. That same excuse is what people use to justify homophobia – because the gay guy was too showy, its his fault that the religious nutjobs went after him? Because my friend, who followed his conscience disagreed with MN’s ban on gay marriage, it was bad karma for him – hence his family was right to disown him? NOT! LOL.

    I may not be a confrontational kind of guy, but I know when a place is filled with homophobes, and I know to avoid that place next time. And I will tell everyone I meet about my experience so that they can use that extra information to decide for themselves what they think about ND too.

  • Dakotahgeo

    Heh heh heh. So be it. Good riddance. Don’t come back!

  • Dakotahgeo

    @FStratford: LOLOL. It sounds more like you didn’t score and went home alone. No matter… don’t come back, you won’t be missed!

  • Dakotahgeo

    @The Real Mike in Asheville: We have another troll… FStratford. A lost soul who has a bit of trouble relating to reality.

  • Nixter

    @Dakotahgeo: Not. There’s nothing wrong with what he wrote.

  • The Real Mike in Asheville


    Not so sure, Stratford sounds a bit more frustrated than trollie [is that the right word?]. Based on the post, I’d guess he is not so much a lost soul as he is lost in achieving the gay life he wants — I’ll hope he finds the life he wants, as that should be the goal for all, gay and straight and bi and trans.

    Stratford, I “googled” gay bars North Dakota and found there are bars in Bismark and Fargo, AND, i learned that both Bismark and Fargo also have gay pride parades. Not at all pretending that gay pride in Bismark/Fargo is anything like pride parades in SF/LA/NYC, but the simple fact that they have gay pride is an amazing change.

  • Dakotahgeo

    @The Real Mike in Asheville: Thank you, Mike. Things are changing as time progresses in North Dakota and other states. Some bars are open one week, closed the next month. I’ll call my friends in ND and find out what the skivvy is on the bar scene. Since I drink very, very little, but socialize with others, it has been ages since I was up there. North Dakota is on the move though, and they are woefully short of housing now with the Bakken Basin Oil fields opening up. I’m glad I don’t live there… $1500-3000 for a one bedroom apartment…Oy Veh!

  • FStratford

    @The Real Mike in Asheville:

    There are no Gay bars in Fargo. Your google results are old.

  • FStratford


    Dont be daft.

    I didn’t score? Please. I lived in Minneapolis, not ND. Its the contrast between people from ND and people from MN that appalled me. And when I looked more into ND, all I saw was a state that is rotten to the core. And this survey shows how NOT open it is when it comes to gay issues. I am just providing context to it.

    If you or anyone dont believe me, that is fine. Maybe you are right that things have changed since 6 months ago. I doubt it, but who knows? I had to comment because my impression of ND is not better than you seem to imply. I actually agree with the survey results; you dont.

    Fwiw, the whole bakken thing does not improve things, because all it doing is bring in experienced hands from TX, OK, AK and other oil states that are not necessarily bastions of gay rights.

    Please don’t make this into some personal thing because it isnt. Attacking me does not change the results of the survey we are commenting on – that ND looks like it is the most closeted state of the nation. All I am saying is, there is a reason for that, based on my personal observation.

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