COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The percentage of adults in the United States who identify as LGBTQ+ has increased to an all-time high, a study has found. 

A record-breaking 7.2% of U.S. adults now self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or an orientation or gender identity other than heterosexual, according to a recent Gallup poll surveying more than 10,000 individuals. The percentage has more than doubled over the last decade, when 3.5% identified as LGBTQ+ in Gallup’s inaugural poll in 2012. 

“LGBT identification has become much more common in the U.S. in the past decade, though in the past year, the figure has been stable,” Gallup’s study states. “With many more younger than older adults seeing themselves as something other than heterosexual, the LGBT share of the entire U.S. adult population can be expected to grow in future years.”

LGBTQ+ population in Ohio 

Ohio is below the national rate as 4.3% identify as part of the minority community with a total LGBTQ+ population of 462,000, data from the UCLA School of Law Williams Institute shows. The Buckeye State is ranked 20th in the U.S. for LGBTQ+ percentage, while Washington D.C. is first with 9.8%, Oregon is second with 5.6% and Nevada is third with 5.5%. 

A lack of laws and policies protecting the LGBTQ+ community could be contributing to Ohio’s lower percentage, according to the Movement Advancement Project. Lawmakers in the state are among a string of state legislators nationwide proposing anti-LGBTQ+ laws in 2023, breaking the record for the most bills introduced in a single year impacting the minority community.

The bills introduced in Ohio include a “divisive concepts” bill modeled after Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law and a bill banning trans athletes from participating in sports. A bill to prohibit discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression has failed to pass the state’s general assembly several times since it was first introduced in 2008. 

Identification higher in younger generations 

The greatest share of LGBTQ+ adults identify as bisexual at 58.2%, or 4.2% of all U.S. adults, Gallup’s study shows. About one in five identify as gay at 20.2%, one in seven said they are lesbian at 13.4% and fewer than one in 10 identify as transgender at 8.8%. 

For the first time, Gallup recorded the identities of those within the LGBTQ+ community who identify as an orientation or gender identity other than lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. About 5%, or 0.1% of all U.S. adults, said they are queer, pansexual or asexual. 

Generation Z, those ages 19 to 26, are the most likely to identify within the LGBTQ+ community at 19.7%, Gallup states. Millennials ages 27 to 42 are second with 11.2%, followed by Generation X ages 43 to 58 with 3.3%, Baby Boomers ages 59 to 77 with 2.7% and the Silent Generation ages 78 and older with 1.7%. 

The proportion of bisexual adults relative to other identities in the LGBTQ+ community is higher among younger generations, the study shows. More than 13% of Generation Z said they are bisexual, while 3.4% are gay, 2.2% are lesbian and 1.9% are transgender. The trend continues as 6.9% of Millennials said they are bisexual while 1.9% are gay, 1.5% are lesbian and 1% are transgender.

Less than half of LGBTQ+ adults in older generations said they are bisexual, although it is still the largest subgroup of LGBTQ+ adults in Generation X. In the oldest two generations, LGBTQ+ individuals are most likely to identify as gay.

View Gallup’s entire study here