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How Many Adults Identify as Transgender in the United States?

June 29, 2016

Population-based surveys, meaning those that are designed to allow researchers to generalize findings to the population, rarely ask questions to identify transgender people and, therefore, cannot be used to provide estimates of the size and characteristics of the transgender population. The federal government administers several large, national population-based surveys like the American Community Survey and the National Health Interview Survey that track the demographics, health and well-being of U.S. residents. Unfortunately, these surveys do not currently measure gender identity. However, there are several state-level population-based surveys that identify transgender respondents and can be used to estimate the size and characteristics of the transgender population.In 2011, Gary J. Gates utilized two state-level population-based surveys that collected data from 2003 in California and from 2007 and 2009 in Massachusetts to estimate that 0.3% of the U.S. adult population, roughly 700,000 adults, identified as transgender. Since then, more state-level data sources have emerged that allow us to utilize an estimation procedure that would not have been possible with the limited data available in 2011. Compared to the data used in Gates' study, these new data sources provide more recent data (2014), larger sample sizes, and more detailed information about respondents. This allows for the development of more recent, detailed, and statistically robust estimates of the percentage and number of adults in the United States who identify as transgender.This report utilizes data from the CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to estimate the percentage and number of adults who identify as transgender nationally and in all 50 states. We find that 0.6% of U.S. adults identify as transgender. This figure is double the estimate that utilized data from roughly a decade ago and implies that an estimated 1.4 million adults in the U.S. identify as transgender. State-level estimates of adults who identify as transgender range from 0.3% in North Dakota to 0.8% in Hawaii. In addition, due to current state-level policy debates that specifically target and affect transgender students, we provide estimates of the number of adults who identify as transgender by age. The youngest age group, 18 to 24 year olds, is more likely than older age groups to identify as identify as transgender.

Same-Sex Couples and Immigration in the United States

November 1, 2011

This report uses Census Bureau data to provide a portrait of same-sex couples affected by United States immigration policy. Using data from the American Community Survey (ACS) it presents demographic profiles of three different types of same-sex couples: binational couples in which one partner is a U.S. citizen and one is not; dual non-citizen couples; and couples that include a naturalized U.S. citizen. Binational couples and non-citizen couples in which only one partner is a permanent resident would gain protections and rights if U.S. immigration law were changed to treat same-sex couples as their different-sex counterparts are treated. As of 2010, nearly 79,200 same-sex couples living in the United States include at least one partner who is currently not a U.S citizen or was naturalized as a citizen. Of the nearly 650,000 same-sex couples in the US: 4.4% or 28,574 are binational couples (one partner is a U.S. citizen and one is not)1.8% or 11,442 are dual non-citizen couples6.1% or 39,176 are dual citizen couples with at least one naturalized partner

Congressional Testimony on HR 2517: "Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009"

July 8, 2009

Williams Institute Research Director Lee Badgett's written testimony delivered to the Congressional Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia on HR 2517: Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligation Act of 2009. If passed, the legislation would extend federal employee benefits to domestic partners of federal workers.

The Effect of California's Budget Cuts on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People and Their Children

July 2, 2009

California faces a $26.3 million budget shortfall for the approaching fiscal year. In an effort to balance the budget, cuts are likely to some of California's most vital services and programs including Medi-Cal, the State's healthcare option for low-income children, families, elderly, and disabled. The poor, elderly, and disabled will undoubtedly bear a significant share of these cuts. This research note uses the 2007 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) to explore the potential consequence of the severe downsizing or elimination of some of California's public benefits programs on the often overlooked low-income lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) population. Since that survey predates the current deep recession, the current numbers of LGB recipients is likely to be even higher than the figures presented here.

Testimony Submitted to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary: The Uniting American Families Act, Addressing Inequality in Federal Immigration Law

June 3, 2009

A large body of research has shown that same-sex "unmarried partners" identified in the U.S. Census are primarily composed of lesbian and gay couples. The Census includes questions about citizenship status and country of origin and offers valuable information about same-sex couples who may be affected by UAFA. A 2005 report entitled "Bi-national Same-sex Unmarried Partners in Census 2000: A Demographic Portrait" provides important information about the size and demographic characteristics of bi-national same-sex couples where one partner is a U.S. citizen and the other is not. This testimony summarizes the key findings from that report.

The Effects of Marriage Equality in Massachusetts: A survey of the experiences and impact of marriage on same-sex couples

May 17, 2009

May 17th, 2009 marks the 5th year of marriage equality in the state of Massachusetts. To mark this anniversary, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health conducted the largest survey to date of married same-sex couples, the Health and Marriage Equality in Massachusetts (HMEM) survey. During the past year, four other states have extended marriage to same-sex couples and several other states are considering marriage legislation. The HMEM data allows us to address important questions that arise as other states consider whether to extend marriage to same-sex couples. The data provides answers to several key questions: Who is getting married? Why are same-sex couples getting married? What impact has marriage had on same-sex relationships? And, what impact has marriage had on the children of same-sex couples?

The Business Boost from Marriage Equality: Evidence from the Health and Marriage Equality in Massachusetts Survey

May 7, 2009

This brief draws on two sources of data, a survey and state-collected tax revenue data, and finds that marriages have had a positive economic effect on Massachusetts -- likely providing a boost of over $100 million to the state economy. Same-sex couples' weddings injected significant spending into the Massachusetts economy and brought out-of-state guests to the state, whose spending also added to the economic boost.

Marriage Equality and the Creative Class

May 7, 2009

Data from the American Community Survey suggest that marriage equality has a small but positive impact on the number of individuals in same-sex couples who are attracted to a state. However, marriage equality appears to have a larger impact on the types of individuals in same-sex couples who are attracted to a state. This study shows that in Massachusetts marriage equality resulted in an increase of younger, female, and more highly educated and skilled individuals in same-sex couples moving to the state.

Tax Implications for Same-Sex Couples

April 14, 2009

This week Americans will rush to complete their tax returns, and perhaps to write out a check to the Internal Revenue Service. For some taxpayers, the pain will be sharper, particularly for gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals and their families. While same-sex couples in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and soon in Iowa and Vermont may marry, the federal government still does not recognize same-sex couples as married, no matter where they live. As a result, same-sex couples pay more in taxes and receive fewer benefits than do married different-sex couples.

The Impact on Maine's Budget of Allowing Same-Sex Couples to Marry

April 9, 2009

This analysis estimates the impact of allowing same-sex couples to marry on Maine's state budget. We estimate that allowing same-sex couples to marry will result in a net gain of approximately $7.9 million each year for the State. This net impact will be the result of savings in expenditures on state means-tested public benefits programs and an increase in revenue from state sales and income taxes and marriage license fees. Throughout this report, we estimate the economic impact of weddings conservatively. In other words, we choose assumptions that are cautious from the State's perspective in that they tend to produce lower revenues and higher expenditures given the range of possibilities. Even so, we find that the effect of allowing same-sex couples to marry in Maine is an annual positive fiscal impact of approximately $7.9 million.

Cost of Florida's Ban on Adoption by GLB Individuals and Same-Sex Couples

March 12, 2009

This memo estimates the impact on children and the cost to the State of Florida of the current prohibition on adoption by gay, lesbian, and bisexual (GLB) individuals and same-sex couples. We use data about the number of children adopted each year as a way to estimate the number of GLB individuals and same-sex couples who would be likely to serve as adoptive parents if the ban were not in place. Prohibiting GLB individuals and same-sex couples from adopting means that 165 children must remain in foster care or must have alternative adoptive homes recruited for them. As a result, we estimate that the ban costs the State of Florida over $2.5 million in per year. As explained below, this estimate is conservative since some likely additional costs are difficult to quantify. In addition, because of the current prohibition on GLB individuals and same-sex couples adopting children in Florida, it is possible that more GLB individuals and same-sex couples would be interested in adopting if the ban were lifted. We estimate that if the ban were lifted, both adoption and foster care by GLB individuals and same-sex couples would increase to the average United States level, leading to 219 children being adopted, and saving the State of Florida $3.4 million dollars in the first year.

Poverty in the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community

March 1, 2009

This report undertakes the first analysis of the poor and low-income lesbian, gay, and bisexual population. We find clear evidence that poverty is at least as common in the LGB population as among heterosexual people and their families.