CDC: Only 3% of US Population is Gay
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."