Alfred Kinsey said in the 40’s that 10 percent of the men he surveyed were “predominantly homosexual.” However, Gary Gates, from the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy, derived from 5 studies that the US has about 4 million adults who identify as being gay – representing 1.7 percent of the 18-and-over population.
That’s a much lower figure than the 3 to 5 percent that has been believed in the last two decades, based on other isolated studies and attempts to discredit Kinsey. However, Gates also estimated that 19 million people, or 8.2 percent of the population, have engaged in sex with a partner of the same sex.
“One of the major questions, when you think about how many (LGBT) people are there, is what do you mean by LGBT?” he said. “This shows there are pretty big differences between people who use the terms to label themselves versus sexual behavior or attraction.”
Last year, Gates advised the Census bureau in its campaign to persuade same-sex couples to identify themselves as such in the once-a-decade national population count. The bureau is now considering whether to ask individuals about their sexual orientations in the ongoing American Community Survey produced in between each Census.