Gay leaders are expressing alarm at the just-released numbers from the Center for Disease Control that place the percentage of Americans identifying as homosexual at only 1.6% of the adult population.
That would mean the total number of gays in American is roughly 3.8 million, roughly 1.5 million less than the total number of American Methodists.
Scout, who goes by one name, a spokesman for CenterLink’s Network of LGBT Health Equity, told the Washington Post, “The truth is, numbers matter, and political influence matters.”
Most Americans believe the population of gays is exponentially larger. For almost half a century, Americans believed a number produced by disgraced sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, who claimed 10% of the population was gay. In recent years, Gallup found that a majority of adults believe the percentage of gays in the population is 25%. The same poll found younger people put the figure at 30%.
Ellyn Ruthstrom, president of the Bi-Sexual Resource Center in Boston, said, “It’s just going to make it harder for us when we’re going out and talking to people about the bisexual population. We have a real hard time already with people not taking the bisexual identity seriously.”
The CDC defends its survey, explaining the current survey polled 35,000 adults. The CDC’s National Center on Health Statistics told the Washington Post they “conducted rigorous tests to come up with the questions and interview method. They conducted more than 100 in-depth interviews–far more than is typical–and did three field tests, including one in which they experimented with a more private interview method that allowed respondents to listen to questions using headphones and type their answers into a computer.” James Dahlhamer, a health statistician with the CDC, told the Post there was no difference in the results using the two methods.
WaPo reports that “CDC is investigating why its figures, particularly for bisexuals, differ from those in the other surveys.”