For those of you that are unaware, November isn’t only a month for stuffing our faces with glorious Thanksgiving food, it’s also a month dedicated to recognizing our transgender community. Transgender Awareness Month celebrates every single person who identifies as trans and calls for their right to identify as their authentic self without fear of discrimination.
In honor of such an important month, we’ve highlighted the findings of a recent study to help educate everyone about the magnitude of our transgender population. So, read on you might just learn something.
A study performed by The Williams Institute found that an estimated 1.4 million adults in the U.S. identify as transgender.
A recent study performed by Andrew R. Flores, Jody L. Herman, Gary J. Gates, and Taylor N.T. Brown of The Williams Institute, discovered that roughly 0.6% of U.S. adults (1.4 million) identify as transgender. Hawaii ranked as the highest percentage with 0.8% identifying as trans and North Dakota ranked lowest with a 0.3% identification rate. The District of Colombia is also noted for its high percentage at 2.8%.
According to this study, “Population-based surveys rarely ask questions to identify transgender people and therefore cannot be used to provide estimates of the size and characteristics of the transgender population.” Our national population-based surveys (administered on the federal level) such as the National Health Interview Survey do not currently measure gender identity.
Unfortunately, we live in a country that has yet to reach complete recognition every type of person regardless of their ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. How TF can we not include an entire community of people? 1.4 million people! However, there are several state-level population surveys that do identify transgender respondents and the combination of these surveys can be used to estimate the size and characteristics of the transgender population.
In 2011, Gary J. Gates used two of these state-level surveys that collected data from 2003 in California and from 2007 and 2009 in Massachusetts to estimate that 0.3% of the U.S. population (700,000 adults) identified as transgender. Since then, new data sources have come to light that allow for an updated estimation procedure for more accurate results.
“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.”
Below, we’ve broken down the U.S. by regions to illustrate the lowest and highest percentages of transgender-identified people.
The study was also estimated transgender identities based on age groups.
Due to current state-level policy debates that specifically target and affect transgender students, the study provides estimates of the number of adults who identify as transgender by age. They found that the youngest age group 18-24 years old are more likely to identify than older groups.
According to their estimates, 0.7% of adults ages 18-24, 0.6% of 25-64 year olds, and 0.5% of adults 65 years and older identify themselves as transgender.
The following module from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) was utilized for data collection.
To estimate the population by state, they relied on multilevel regression and post-stratification. These methods have also been used to measure political attitudes across states and Jewish populations. It “remains the best available approach to perform this estimation procedure.
So what can we take away from this survey?
While many of you may skim through this article’s numbers and factual information, it’s important to grasp a vital point. This study is one of the first of hopefully many to come proving that transgendered people make up a significant portion of our population and deserve to be recognized no matter how they choose to identify.
*Steps off soapbox*