By Dr. Susan Berry
A new Gallup poll finds that Americans’ estimates of the percentage of gays and lesbians in the United States is “many times higher” than the actual percentage, demonstrating a distorted perception on the part of Americans of this demographic group.
According to the poll, Americans estimate on average that 23 percent of their fellow citizens are gay or lesbian.
As Breitbart News reported in July of 2014, the National Health Interview Survey, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – a highly definitive study from 2013 – found that fewer than 3 percent of respondents identified themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, and only 1.6 percent self-identified as gay or lesbian.
In 2011, Gallup found Americans’ estimate of the percentage of gays in the population was 25 percent.
Accompanying the vast distortion in the estimates of the percentage of gays and lesbians in the United States, militant LGBT groups have pressured activists in the judiciary to strike down state laws that restrict marriage to one man and one woman. Gallup indicates that, according to its survey, the percentage of Americans who favor legalized same-sex marriage is now at 60 percent.
According to Gallup:
[A]ll available estimates of the actual gay and lesbian population in the U.S. are far lower than what the public estimates, and no measurement procedure has produced any figures suggesting that more than one out of five Americans are gay or lesbian. The widely off-the-mark nature of Americans’ estimates is underscored by the finding that in the most recent update, from May 6-10, only 9% of Americans estimate that the gay and lesbian population is less than 5% — where Gallup’s tracking figure would put it — while at the other end of the spectrum, 33% estimate it as more than 25%.
“Younger Americans give higher estimates than those who are older, and women make significantly higher guesses of the gay and lesbian population than men do,” Gallup continues, noting that Americans between the ages of 18-29 estimate 28 percent of the U.S. population is gay/lesbian.
Men surveyed estimated 19 percent of the population is gay/lesbian, while women’s estimate was 27 percent.
The more educated people who participated in the survey had lower estimates than less educated individuals, but still vastly higher than the actual percentage of gays/lesbians. Americans with postgraduate degrees estimated that 15 percent of the population is gay/lesbian, and those in high school or lower grades produced an estimate of 28 percent.
Gallup surmises the reason for the gross misperception on the part of Americans could reflect their lack of familiarity with demographic data or the fact that “prominent media portrayals of gay characters on television and in movies, even as far back as 2002, and perhaps the high visibility of activists who have pushed gay causes, particularly legalizing same-sex marriage.”