Add the GLB ( gay, lesbian and bisexual ) demographic to the increasing minority populations. New data from the American Community Survey ( ACS ) provide the first glimpse into what has turned out to be an explosion of GLB individuals over the past half-decade.
Among the conclusions gathered from the survey are these items:
— The number of same sex-couples in the United States increased by more than 30 percent from 2000 to 2005, from nearly 600,000 to almost 777,000.
— Six of the eight states with a 2006 ballot initiative that would prohibit gay marriage—Arizona, Colorado, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin—actually have experienced increases that exceed the national rate of 30 percent.
— The largest percentage increase in the number of same-sex couples actually occurred in the Midwest, an area that had relatively low rates—at least according to the 2000 Census. The 10 states with the biggest increases include Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio.
— Illinois, California, Texas, New York and Florida ( in no particular order ) are the states with the largest GLB populations. Accordingly, San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles are among those metropolitan areas with the largest reported numbers of GLB individuals. ( The Chicago area is actually referred to as 'Chicago-Naperville-Joliet.' ) San Francisco has the highest gay population concentration, at 15.4 percent.
— There are an estimated 8.8 million self-identified GLB persons in this country.
According to a release from the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation, which conducted the study, at least two factors have likely contributed to the overall leap in the GLB population: more people opting for same-sex relationships and more people reporting the nature of said relationships to the Census Bureau. Gary Gates, senior research fellow at the institute, stated that 'most likely, as stigma associated with same-sex partnering and homosexuality decreases, more same-sex couples are willing to identify themselves as such on government surveys.'
Although the 'T' in the GLBT population—transgender individuals—was not included in this particular survey, one could safely assume that this particular demographic is increasing in size as well, thanks to such items as ( slowly ) increasing benefits and protections related to gender identity. For example, as of October, 74 colleges and universities ban gender-rights discrimination and bullying against students and faculty, according to GenderPAC.org .
The ACS study can be accessed at www.law.ucla.edu/williamsinstitute.