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Ask the Times

Q&A: Tracking sexual orientation statistics in America

How many homosexuals in U.S.?

Same sex marriages have been very much in the news lately. However, I haven't seen any statistics on how many homosexuals there are in the United States. Are there estimates on this? If so, what are the numbers?

A Gallup Daily Tracking Survey conducted from June through September of last year and released in October found that 3.4 percent of adults in the United States identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), Gary Gates, the distinguished scholar at the Williams Institute, a think tank at UCLA's School of Law, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in an email.

Gates, who co-authored The Gay and Lesbian Atlas, wrote a 2011 report called "How many people are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender?" Taking data from a variety of nationally representative surveys, he found that "about 3.8 percent of adults identified as LGBT," he wrote. "In that same report, I found that more than 8 percent of Americans say that they have had a same-sex sexual experience and an estimated 11 percent indicate at least some sexual attraction to individuals of the same sex," Gates wrote.

In his 2011 report, Gates wrote that there are approximately 9 million LGBT Americans. The Gallup survey found that 3.6 percent of women and 3.3 percent of men identified themselves as LGBT. It also reported that 3.2 percent of white Americans, 4.6 percent of African-Americans, 4 percent of Hispanics (U.S. population) and 4.3 percent of Asians (U.S. population) identify as LGBT.

What is Jill Biden's doctorate in?

During inaugural coverage, Vice President Joe Biden's wife was referred to as Dr. Jill Biden. What kind of doctor is she?

Jill Biden earned a doctorate in education from the University of Delaware in 2007, according to her bio on www.WhiteHouse.gov. Her dissertation was on maximizing student retention in community colleges. The second lady also has master's degrees from West Chester University and Villanova University and is an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College.

Update

Regarding the question in Ask the Times (Jan. 28), I read an article in USA Today that said: "In Florida, law enforcement officers can be kept secret." Is that true?

We didn't see any such exception when we answered the question Jan. 28, but researched it again on the Florida Lottery website and also consulted the Florida State Statutes. Again, we could find no reference to such an exception for a lottery winner.

So we checked with the Florida Lottery communications staff. Meagan Dougherty, senior public affairs specialist, responded: "We can release the name of a winner who is a law enforcement officer; however, we cannot identify the winner as such."

Q&A: Tracking sexual orientation statistics in America 02/11/13 [Last modified: Monday, February 11, 2013 6:30pm]
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