CDC: Only 1.6% of Americans Identify as Gay or Lesbian

Paul Lagarde | July 18, 2014 | 2:32pm EDT
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( Contrary to popular belief, just 1.6 percent of American adults identify as homosexual, compared to 96.6 percent who say they are heterosexual, according to a large-scale, first-of-its-kind government survey recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In 2011, a Gallup survey found that 52 percent of Americans believed that 25 percent of the population was either gay or lesbian. Only 4 percent of people surveyed at that time thought that the homosexual population was less than 5 percent.

The CDC survey also found that 0.7 percent of adults, less than 1 percent, consider themselves bisexual. Another 1.1 percent identified as “something else,” stated “I don’t know the answer,” or refused to provide an answer.

The 2013 National Health Interview Survey, which queried 34,577 adults face-to-face with some follow-up telephone calls, represents the first time the government has conducted a large-scale survey of Americans’ sexual orientation.

Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture at the Media Research Center, which is the parent company of, was quoted on Special Report with Bret Baier explaining the disparity between public perception and reality when it comes to the actual percentage of homosexuals in the U.S. population.

“This is the ultimate media disconnect. Both news and entertainment bombard Americans with images of gay weddings, gay adoptions, and transgender triumphs, all claiming to be what NBC called ‘the new normal,’” Gainor said. “The CDC numbers prove what we’ve been told might describe Hollywood, but not the rest of America.”

However, Fred Sainz, vice president of the Human Rights Campaign, disputed the CDC findings.

“These numbers undercount the nation’s LGB population,” Sainz claimed. “There’s still a tremendous amount of stigma that may prevent LGB individuals from expressing themselves honestly in a government survey.”

The CDC states there is a standard error of .09 in its findings for the number of people who identify as gay or lesbian. It also states that estimates with a relative standard error (RSE) of less than 30 percent are considered reliable. The RSE for the gay and lesbian survey is 5.625 percent.

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