A new survey conducted by researchers at the Williams Institute suggests that the transgender population in the United States has doubled from a decade ago.
The June 2016 survey placed the number of transgender Americans at 1.4 million, or nearly 0.6% of the population. Estimates made in 2011 suggested that roughly 700,000 people, or 0.3% of the population of the United States, identified as transgender.
The new survey also found that young adults (18-24) and those belonging to ethnic minority groups were more likely to identify as transgender. Breaking the results down by state, Hawaii was found to have the highest transgender population at 0.8%, while North Dakota was found to have the lowest transgender population at 0.3%.
Gary Gates, a demographer involved with the survey, stated that the population increase was related to ‘a combination of better information and an improved social climate’.
Gates also implied the survey could bolster efforts to establish nationwide anti-discrimination and equal protection laws which would benefit transgender people in a positive way. ‘In the policy world, it’s often true that you don’t count until someone counts you. There are politicians who say, “There’s no one like that in my area” and these numbers help to undermine that argument.’
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, responded positively to the findings.
‘There are still a lot of things in society which are unsafe for us. But we know that a lot more people feel they can publicly identify as transgender now,’ Keisling said.
The Williams Institute is a think thank which specializes in issues facing LGBT people. It is based out of the UCLA School of Law in Los Angeles, California.