POLL: LGBT Americans Poorer, Less Educated Than Straight Americans

According to what Gallup calls the largest single study of the American LGBT population on record, 3.4% of Americans identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Gallup conducted 121,290 phone interviews between June 1 and Sept. 30, 2012, asking the question, “Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender?”

3.4% responded yes while 4.4% either refused to respond or “didn’t know.”

Though consistent with a previous estimate, Gallup concedes that the numbers don’t reflect the actual number of LGBT people in America, simply the number willing to identify as such:

Measuring sexual orientation and gender identity can be challenging since these concepts involve complex social and cultural patterns. As a group still subject to social stigma, many of those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender may not be forthcoming about this identity when asked about it in a survey. Therefore, it’s likely that some Americans in what is commonly referred to as “the closet” would not be included in the estimates derived from the Gallup interviews.

The poll also found that when it comes to identifying as LGBT,  non-white people are more likely than white people and women are more likely than men.; Americans aged 18-29 are three times more likely to identify as LGBT than senior citizens; and contrary to a “more limited” study by the Williams Institute, “identification as LGBT is highest among Americans with the lowest levels of education”:

Among those with a high school education or less, 3.5% identify as LGBT, compared with 2.8% of those with a college degree and 3.2% of those with postgraduate education. LGBT identification is highest among those with some college education but not a college degree, at 4.0%.

The same is purportedly true when it comes to economics:

More than 5% of those with incomes of less than $24,000 a year identify as LGBT, a higher proportion than among those with higher incomes – including 2.8% of those making $60,000 a year or more…about 16% of LGBT-identified individuals have incomes above $90,000 per year, compared with 21% of the overall adult population. Additionally, 35% of those who identify as LGBT report incomes of less than $24,000 a year, significantly higher than the 24% for the population in general.

Those numbers are consistent with a previous report that LGBT Americans are at a higher risk for poverty. You can read the full Gallup report here.