Americans think the gay population is five times as big as it is

Pin it

A recent Gallup poll found that the average American estimates that gays and lesbians make up about twenty-five of the US population, when in reality, that figure is closer to four percent.

Thirty-five percent of Americans put the gay and lesbian segment of the population at twenty-five percent, while seventeen percent of those polled put the number at between twenty and twenty-five percent. Only four percent accurately guessed the figure at "less than five percent."

Interestingly, women, the coveted eighteen to twenty-nine year-old demographic, and those with lower incomes gave higher estimates than other groups polled. Also, perhaps unsurprisingly, Democrats, liberals, and moderates gave higher estimates than Republicans and conservatives.

I have to admit, I was shocked to see that the actual number is so low — I was certainly expecting something closer to twenty-five percent. Maybe it's because gay people are so ubiquitous on television (Glee, Bravo and E!) or music (Lady Gaga, who I know is not gay but is probably the gayest non-gay woman since Cher). Or maybe it's because we're constantly being warned of the slow, creeping menace that homosexuality represents towards the 'Merican way of life by various media figures and interest groups.