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How Many Adults Identify as Transgender in the United States?
How Many Adults Identify as Transgender in the United States?
June 2016 CONTENTS DOWNLOAD SHARE Overview Highlights Data Points Report Full Report Copy link Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
Using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, this report provides estimates of the number and percentage of adults who identify as transgender in the U.S. and in each of the 50 states and D.C. Estimates are also broken down into three age ranges of adults.
AUTHORS Andrew R. Flores Affiliated Scholar Jody L. Herman
Senior Scholar of Public Policy
Gary J. Gates
Research Director, Former
Taylor N. T. Brown
Project Manager, Former
CONTACT US ABOUT THIS STUDY
Hawaii, California, Georgia, New Mexico, Texas, and Florida have the highest percentages of adults who identify as transgender.
North Dakota, Iowa, Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota have the lowest percentages of adults who identify as transgender.
Younger adults are more likely than older adults to identify as transgender.
Data Points 1.4M
adults identify as transgender
of the adult population in Hawaii, California, Georgia, and New Mexico identify as transgender
of the adult population in North Dakota, Iowa, Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota identify as transgender
of adults ages 18-24 identify as transgender
of adults ages 65 and older identify as transgender
Introduction and Summary
Population-based surveys, meaning those that are designed to allow researchers to generalize findings to the population, rarely ask questions to identify transgender people and, therefore, cannot be used to provide estimates of the size and characteristics of the transgender population. The federal government administers several large, national population-based surveys like the American Community Survey and the National Health Interview Survey that track the demographics, health, and well-being of U.S. residents. Unfortunately, these surveys do not currently measure gender identity.1 However, there are several state-level population-based surveys that identify transgender respondents and can be used to estimate the size and characteristics of the transgender population.
In 2011, Gary J. Gates utilized two state-level population-based surveys that collected data from 2003 in California and from 2007 and 2009 in Massachusetts to estimate that 0.3% of the U.S. adult population, roughly 700,000 adults, identified as transgender.2 Since then, more state-level data sources have emerged that allow us to utilize an estimation procedure that would not have been possible with the limited data available in 2011. Compared to the data used in Gates’ study, these new data sources provide more recent data (2014), larger sample sizes, and more detailed information about respondents. This allows for the development of more recent, detailed, and statistically robust estimates of the percentage and number of adults in the United States who identify as transgender.
This report utilizes data from the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to estimate the percentage and number of adults who identify as transgender nationally and in all 50 states.3 We find that 0.6% of U.S. adults identify as transgender. This figure is double the estimate that utilized data from roughly a decade ago and implies that an estimated 1.4 million adults in the U.S. identify as transgender.4 State-level estimates of adults who identify as transgender range from 0.3% in North Dakota to 0.8% in Hawaii.5 In addition, due to current state-level policy debates that specifically target and affect transgender students, we provide estimates of the number of adults who identify as transgender by age. The youngest age group, 18 to 24 year olds, is more likely than older age groups to identify as transgender.
Download the full report
Race and Ethnicity of Adults Who Identify as Transgender in the United States
October 2016 REPORT
Demographic Characteristics and Health Status of Transgender Adults in Select US Regions
For a discussion of gender identity data collection in federal population-based surveys and recommended measures, see The GenIUSS Group. (2014). Best Practices for Asking Questions to Identify Transgender and Other Gender Minority Respondents on Population-Based Surveys. J.L. Herman (Ed.). Los Angeles, CA: The Williams Institute, available at http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla. edu/wp-content/uploads/geniuss-report-sep-2014.pdf.
Gates, G.J. (2011). How many people are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender? Los Angeles, CA: The Williams Institute, available at http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Gates-How-Many-People-LGBT-Apr-2011.pdf. A more recent report that was released in March 2016 provided estimates of the transgender population ages 13 and above in 15 states (“Estimates of Transgender Populations in States with Legislation Impacting Transgender People, available at http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/research/census-lgbt-demographics-studies/estimates-of-transgender-populations-in-states-with-legislation-impacting-transgender-people/). These estimates were based on Gates’ 2011 study and other estimates of the transgender youth population. We believe the current study provides more robust estimates of the percentage of transgender-identified adults in those 15 states.
Transgender Population Size in the United States: a Meta
Background. Transgender individuals have a gender identity that differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. The population size of transgender individuals in the United States is not well-known, in part because official records, including the US ...
Am J Public Health. 2017 February; 107(2): e1–e8.
Published online 2017 February. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303578
PMCID: PMC5227946 PMID: 28075632
Transgender Population Size in the United States: a Meta-Regression of Population-Based Probability Samples
Esther L. Meerwijk, PhD and Jae M. Sevelius, PhD
Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer
This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.
AbstractBackground. Transgender individuals have a gender identity that differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. The population size of transgender individuals in the United States is not well-known, in part because official records, including the US Census, do not include data on gender identity. Population surveys today more often collect transgender-inclusive gender-identity data, and secular trends in culture and the media have created a somewhat more favorable environment for transgender people.Objectives. To estimate the current population size of transgender individuals in the United States and evaluate any trend over time.Search methods. In June and July 2016, we searched PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and Web of Science for national surveys, as well as “gray” literature, through an Internet search. We limited the search to 2006 through 2016.Selection criteria. We selected population-based surveys that used probability sampling and included self-reported transgender-identity data.Data collection and analysis. We used random-effects meta-analysis to pool eligible surveys and used meta-regression to address our hypothesis that the transgender population size estimate would increase over time. We used subsample and leave-one-out analysis to assess for bias.Main results. Our meta-regression model, based on 12 surveys covering 2007 to 2015, explained 62.5% of model heterogeneity, with a significant effect for each unit increase in survey year (F = 17.122; df = 1,10; b = 0.026%; P = .002). Extrapolating these results to 2016 suggested a current US population size of 390 adults per 100 000, or almost 1 million adults nationally. This estimate may be more indicative for younger adults, who represented more than 50% of the respondents in our analysis.Authors’ conclusions. Future national surveys are likely to observe higher numbers of transgender people. The large variety in questions used to ask about transgender identity may account for residual heterogeneity in our models.Public health implications. Under- or nonrepresentation of transgender individuals in population surveys is a barrier to understanding social determinants and health disparities faced by this population. We recommend using standardized questions to identify respondents with transgender and nonbinary gender identities, which will allow a more accurate population size estimate.
We used data from national surveys to estimate the population size of transgender people in the United States. Estimates of the number of transgender adults significantly increased over the past decade, with a current best estimate of 390 per 100 000 adults. That is about 1 in every 250 adults, or almost 1 million Americans. These numbers may be more typical of younger adults than of the entire US population. We expect that future surveys will find higher numbers of transgender people and recommend that standardized questions be used, which will allow a more accurate population size estimate.
FIGURE 3—Meta-Regression Showing the Proportion of Transgender Adults Against Survey Year
Transgender individuals have a gender identity that differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.1 Research has shown that transgender individuals around the world and in the United States are exposed to widespread social stigma, discrimination, harassment, and physical and sexual abuse.2,3 Compared with the general population, a national survey conducted in the United States in 2008 found that transgender individuals were 4 times more likely to live in extreme poverty, had double the rate of unemployment, and had almost double the rate of being homeless.4 In terms of health, transgender individuals had 4 times the rate of being HIV-infected and 28% postponed medical care because of discrimination. Particularly alarming is that 41% of survey respondents reported at least 1 suicide attempt. A barrier to understanding social determinants and health disparities faced by transgender people is the under- or nonrepresentation in a range of demographic and health-monitoring activities,5 which may result from a lack of transgender-inclusive data collection with regard to gender identity.
Accurate representation of the transgender population is complicated by the diversity within the community with regard to language and subcultures.6,7 Moreover, the clinical literature has long conflated transgender identity with homosexuality.8,9 Although a relationship between gender identity and sexual orientation may exist, the American Psychological Association (APA) recognizes that “Transgender people, like cis-gender people, may be sexually oriented toward men, women, both sexes, or neither sex. . . .”10,11 Current best practice for collecting transgender-inclusive gender identity data is the 2-step method, which has been shown to optimize accurate identification of transgender people in a population.12 This method records current gender identity as well as the sex assigned at birth; transgender people are those who identify as such and those whose current gender identity and sex assigned at birth differ.13 This method allows the capture of people who identify with a binary gender (male or female), such as a transgender man who identifies only as male,14 as well as others who may be considered transgender from a demographic perspective, even if they do not identify with the term “transgender,” such as people who identify as genderqueer, agender, or having no gender.15,16
What Percentage of the Population is Transgender 2022< 250
DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY AK CA CO AZ AR AL CT > 250 > 300 > 350 > 400 > 450 > 500 > 550 > 600 > 650
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What Percentage of the Population is Transgender 2022
Transgender is a term used to describe people whose gender or sense of personal identity does not match the sex they were born with. In other words, a transgender person may have been born as a male but identifies as a female or vice versa.
Transgender people are part of the LGBTQ+ community. According to the Williams Institute, 1.4 million adults identify as transgender in the United States. About 0.7% of adults 18-24 identify as transgender, and 0.5% of adults 65 and older identify as transgender.
Laws Protecting Transgender People
When it comes to LGBTQ rights, the United States has made significant strides over the years. Several states have protections for transgender people, including employment, public accommodations, housing, credit, and schools. Unfortunately, many states do not have these protections in place.
The following 13 states prohibit discrimination against transgender people in employment: California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
The following 14 states protect transgender people from discrimination in public: California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
The following 13 states protect transgender people from discrimination in housing: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.
The following seen states protect transgender people from discrimination in the extension of credit: Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, Vermont, and Washington
The following 11 states prohibit gender identity discrimination in public schools (and in some cases, private schools that receive some state funding): California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.
Transgender Population by State
Calculating the percentage of the population of people that are transgender is difficult since surveys that respondents voluntarily take are the only way to collect this data.
In the United States, approximately 0.58% of the adult population identifies as being transgender, according to data from 2016. When breaking down the transgender population by state, the District of Columbia has the highest percentage at 2.77%. All states in the United States have transgender adults accounting for less than 1% of the adult population.
There are other nations where being transgender is recognized, but there is very little data on how many transgender people there are in these nations. Some nations, such as India, recognize transgender as a third gender. However, other nations are not so open to this idea. In 36 countries in Europe, a mental health diagnosis is required before a transgender person is legally recognized. Twenty European countries even require the sterilization of transgender people.
The ten states with the highest percentage of transgender people are:
Hawaii (0.60%) New Mexico (0.56%) California (0.55%) Georgia (0.51%) Vermont (0.48%) Mississippi (0.46%) Oklahoma (0.46%) Oregon (0.46%) Delaware (0.46%) Alabama (0.45%)