What percentage of the population is gay?

If this question has been posed on this board before, I apologize, but with statical information constantly changing, I believe this question is worth revisiting.

Believe it or not, there are a good number of people who believe that some 10% of the population is homosexual. Some even believe 20% and upwards! I got into a bit of a heated discussion with someone who disagreed with me on the percentage of gays.

I told him that to the best of my knowledge, it is 3-4% of the general population (actually, I even believe that THAT figure is high.) He asked me what my source was.

I believe the percentages matter in this whole debate, because if, conversely, 96-97% of the population is heterosexual (i.e., straight), it highlights the fact that homosexual orientation truly is an abnormality.

Homosexuality is discussed quite a bit on these boards, and I was hoping that someone more resourceful and experienced in this issue than myself could come up with an accurate stat on percentages. But what matters most to me now is that the source be credible and authoritative (so a statistic produced by Catholics wouldn’t do, as opponents would view it as biased).

Thanks in advance for all respondents!


About 3.5%. You’re pretty accurate in your numbers.

I have heard a couple times that the percentage is 6%, however I’ve also heard it said that that number is 2%. Either way the percentage is small. Interesting since we hear so much from the militants.

and so the small percentage of abnormal thinking/ acting people have the ability to influence and change the laws of the majority. :rolleyes:

It is abnormal in the strictest sense which is to say it is not normal however the word has a lot of unpleasant connotations. Additionally normal≠good.

The word atypical would probably be better.

Hi Advocate,

Glad someone had a stat for you. I knew it was between 3 and 5 but this is good news.
It seems that your friends have mistaken media visibility for hard numbers.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not supporting gay activists, but in your statement, if you remove “abnormal thinking/acting” and replace with “righteous thinking/acting”, the same holds true.

My point is, that we, as Christians and as Catholics, like other activists, even though greatly outnumbered, hold the ability to influence others.

A Catholic activist is an Evangelist…Let’s all get to it, and learn from those we get mad at about influencing society.

We can sit back and say, “That ain’t right,” knowing it still is a reality, or we can employ the same techniques to advance the cause of righteousness!

Peace and all good!

Hi Advocate,

Glad someone had a stat for you. I knew it was between 3 and 5 but this is good news.
It seems that your friends have mistaken media visibility for hard numbers.

I’m with you on that! I speak out against it, not in anger and I get chastised. I don’t care though. That agenda is pushed at my job beyond belief in a 30,000+ person organization. There are “Catholics” I work with that support it. I kindly remind them of what our faith teaches. That is God’s plan and how that is not part of it. Yep, I’m one of “those people” that are labeled hateful, intolerant and non-inclusive. Whatever that means these days.

How about the Gallup Poll?


The ten percent number comes from the Kinsey Report, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948). The methodology that he used has been criticized for years. More info here:


I think that there is a whole range between the two extremes. On the one hand there are people who are only attracted to the other gender, and on the other extreme you get people who only feel attracted to the same gender.

It’s a matter of your hormone balance. There is little or nothing you can do if you are on the extreme sides. You are simply born like that. People in between these extremes today get a choice going to one side or the other (or both). When I grew up in Europe (many decades ago) homosexuality was a crime, punishable by law. That must have influenced the way you interacted with the world. Today, we have right the opposite.

(This is my personal opinion and I hope I didn’t offend anybody).

I think you can choose a BEST source in terms of methodology and neutrality, but we still live in a world where many people are afraid to admit that they are homosexual (even to an anonymous researcher). Therefore, I believe the numbers of self-reported homosexuals is under reported out of fear. I do not know how we could ever get an accurate estimate in the current climate.

I wonder, though, if the current percentage of 3.5% already takes that into account (i.e., underreporting being a sort of margin of error).

Think of it this way. If you filled a room with 100 people, what are the odds that 5 or 10 is gay?

I think 10% is crazy. Think of it this way. A classroom of 20 students, that would mean that 2 in every class is gay. No way I can believe that.

So if the percentage is so low and immaterial, why aren’t we focusing more time and effort on the ‘real’ biggest threat to marriage and family? (hint: the biggest threat to marriage and the family is divorce!)

I believe the church does spend a lot of time and energy tackling divorce. For example, there is a lengthy preparation process (6-9 months) and Pre-Cana events.

Err, the percent of regular TV characters that are LGBT is under 5%.

Polls under report behavior considered bad, see the polling rate for left handedness.

Well, it’s LGB which includes bisexuals.

It’s because with the former there is a clear class of others.

If I think of my work place, incredibly believable. It’s a call centre, so there is no reason for LGBT to be over represented.

That is only including those who are open about their sexuality. And myself - yet no one at work knows about me. So if there is even one other person who is not “out”, then we hit the 10% mark.

Does anyone know if there are different rates for men and women? I’ve simply observed that gays tend to be more prevalent than lesbians - regardless of setting.

The whole question is based on a false premise. Consider: we can get an accurate count of how many people have blue eyes, because having blue eyes is a discrete trait. But being gay is not.

If the question is, “How many people are exclusively attracted to the same sex?”, I imagine that number is quite low – certainly lower than the 3-5%, since many gay people have some level of attraction to the opposite sex.

If the question is, “How many people have some level of attraction to the same sex?”, I imagine the number is quite high – maybe 15-20%, maybe more. Of course, here we run into very thorny issues about what constitutes an attraction. If a man finds himself glancing curiously at other men’s bodies in the gym, is this an attraction?

If the question is, “How many people call themselves gay?”, the answer to this question isn’t really helpful, since it depends on people’s perception of social categories.

Accounts of “how many people are gay” vary, because being gay is not a natural quality. Neither is being straight.

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