Williams Institute study doubles estimate of Transgender population in the United States


Representative, state-level surveys provide data sources for estimates of the population of adults who identify as transgender.

Los Angeles, CA — An estimated 0.6% of adults in the United States, or 1.4 million individuals, identify as transgender, according to a new study authored by researchers at The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law. The study provides the first ever state-level estimates of the percentage of adults who identify as transgender throughout the United States, ranging from 0.3% in North Dakota to 0.8% in Hawaii.

“The findings from this study are critical to current policy discussions that impact transgender people,” said Jody Herman, one of the authors of the study. “Policy debates on access to bathrooms, discrimination, and a host of other issues should rely on the best available data to assess potential impacts, including how many people may be affected.”

The study, titled “How Many Adults Identify as Transgender in the United States,” by Andrew R. Flores, Jody L. Herman, Gary J. Gates, and Taylor N. T. Brown, updates previous estimates of the population of transgender adults in the US. Study authors used data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), which includes representative surveys of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and US territories. In 2014, 19 states included a question about transgender identity on their BRFSS survey, and the number of states that ask that question is growing. The authors used additional data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to develop estimates of the transgender-identified adult populations of the other 31 states.

Key findings from the study include:

  • Approximately 0.6% of adults identify as transgender, or 1.4 million adults.
  • There are differences in the percentage of adults who identify as transgender among the states. Hawaii (0.8%), California (0.8%), Georgia (0.8%), New Mexico (0.8%), Texas (0.7%), and Florida (0.7%) are the states that have the highest percentages of adults who identify as transgender.
  • The states with the lowest percentages of transgender-identified adults are North Dakota (0.3%), Iowa (0.3%), Wyoming (0.3%), Montana (0.3%), and South Dakota (0.3%).
  • Young adults are more likely than older adults to identify as transgender. Among adults ages 18 to 24, 0.7% identify as transgender; among adults ages 25 to 64, 0.6% identify as transgender; and among adults ages 65 and older, 0.5% identify as transgender.


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About the Williams Institute

The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of LawThe Williams Institute is dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy.  A think tank at UCLA Law, the Williams Institute produces high-quality research with real-world relevance and disseminates it to judges, legislators, policymakers, media and the public.

Experts at the Williams Institute have authored dozens of public policy studies and law review articles, filed amicus briefs in key court cases, provided expert testimony at legislative hearings, been widely cited in the national media, and trained thousands of lawyers, judges and members of the public.


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  1. Well, it’s not like this is even on the US census survey or anything. I’d be curious to know how they used the census data to arrive at those numbers. Why don’t they just add this as a question/section to the actual census? An LGBT+ section…

  2. I have never been ask in any survey I think the number is higher, Susan is right. When I was in the closet I would’ve never put down transgender

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