6/02/2012

People massively overestimate the percent of the population that is homosexual: More than 12 times higher than the true number

The article on the survey is available here.  This is a long, long way off from the one percent of the population shown in the early 1990s or more recent evidence.  Constant media coverage of homosexuality on both the news and popular shows may be partly responsible for this false impression.  Here is a discussion in the New York Times from surveys done by NORC at the University of Chicago in the early 1990s.

A new national study on male sexual behavior, the most thorough published since the Kinsey report more than four decades ago, shows that about 2 percent of the men surveyed had engaged in homosexual sex and that 1 percent considered themselves exclusively homosexual.
The figures on homosexuality in the study, released yesterday by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, are significantly lower than the 10 percent figure that was published in the Kinsey report in 1948 and that then became part of the conventional wisdom.
But the new findings are in line with a series of surveys of sexual practices done in each of the last four years by researchers at the University of Chicago, and with recently published reports from Britain, France and Denmark, said Tom W. Smith, who directs the General Social Survey at the University of Chicago. . . .


A more recent April 2011 study put the percent at around 1.7% for both men and women.
The analyses suggest that there are more than 8 million adults in the US who are LGB, comprising 3.5% of the adult population. This is split nearly evenly between lesbian/gay and bisexual identified individuals, 1.7% and 1.8%, respectively. . . .


Some have claimed that the percent of "regular" characters on "scripted shows" who were homosexual was as high as 3.9 percent in 2010.  From the NY Times:
In a study released on Wednesday, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said that the number of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender characters on television had reached a new high in the new season. On the broadcast networks, there are 23 gay characters this season, representing 3.9 percent of all series regulars on scripted shows, the group said, up from 3 percent last year.
The group, which has tabulated the number of gay characters for 15 years, said it was pleased by the progress but pointed to several areas where it felt the networks could improve. On scripted network television this season, it found, there are no gay characters who are black and no transgender characters. . . .
Some television commentators have claimed that more than 10 percent of the US is homosexual.  From CNN:
BEGALA: She should be asked about this theory. She's a candidate for president. One out of 10 Americans is gay. She should be asked if she wants to lead a country where at least 10 percent of us are gay or lesbian, does she believe in this crackpot, bigoted theory that somehow there's something to be repaired in our brothers and sisters and sons and daughters who happen to be born gay? . . .

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