Five percent of young Americans identify as trans or non-binary, according to new report

The trans population in the U.S. is growing fast, despite unprecedented attacks on the community

The number of young Americans who identify as trans or non-binary has risen to approximately 5 percent, according to a new report.

According to a new survey released by the Pew Research Center on June 7, adults younger than 30 were more than twice as likely to identify as trans or non-binary than members of older generations. While the Pew data puts the entire trans and non-binary population at 1.6 percent, just 0.3 percent of individuals over the age of 50 identify as a member of that group. 

The number of trans and non-binary people between 30 and 49—also 1.6 percent—is identical to the overall population.

Looking specifically at adults between 18 and 29, 2 percent of that group identifies as a trans man or a trans woman, while 3 percent identify as non-binary. The data comes from an online survey that randomly sampled over 10,000 people. 

The Pew survey indicates that at least 5.3 million trans and non-binary people live in the United States. This is in contrast with recent data from the The Williams Institute, a nonprofit think tank at the University of California, Los Angeles, which estimated earlier this month that about 1.6 million U.S. adults and teenagers identify as trans.

The Pew survey also found that the number of adults who say they know a trans person has increased from 2017, rising from 37 percent to 44 percent this year. More people report having a friend (27 percent) or coworker (13 percent) than a family member who is trans (10 percent).

Meanwhile, a February survey by Gallup noted a steady increase in the U.S. LGBTQ2S+ population in the past decade. The percentage of Americans who identify as LGBTQ2S+ has doubled over that time period: now at 7.1 percent, up from 3.5 percent in 2012. More than 12,000 American adults were polled for the report, with interviews taking place in 2021.

Additional data released by Gallup last week showed that these increases in LGBTQ2S+ identification were recorded across U.S. ethnic and racial groups. 

Since 2012, the number of Latinx adults who identify as queer or trans has increased 156 percent, while the number of Black LGBTQ2S+ adults has increased 50 percent.

Among 18- to 34-year-olds, 15.5 percent of Latinx and 12.1 percent of Black respondents said they were LGBTQ2S+. Older members of both groups were less likely to identify as LGBTQ2S+.

This growth in the U.S. LGBTQ2S+ population comes at a time of intensified attacks on the community, spearheaded by Republican lawmakers.

More than 320 anti-LGBTQ2S+ bills have been proposed by state legislators this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). They have moved to ban care for trans minors seeking medical treatment, criminalize doctors for providing care and prohibit trans student athletes from playing school sports in alignment with their gender identity.


Dika Ofoma

Dika Ofoma is a Nigerian-based writer whose works have been published in magazines like Dazed, Them., Mail and Guardian.

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