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LGBTQ Population in Los Angeles County


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Prior to 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau had never surveyed the sex of individual partners in couples, whether married or not. In 2018, for the first time, as part of the annual American Community Survey, Census provided estimates for the number of unmarried co-habiting couples and the sex of partners. The 2020 Census went further by identifying the sex of married couples. Census seemed to stop there, however. As of 2023, the American Community Survey has yet to provide any updated estimates in any of these categories.

The most detailed survey offering any view of Los Angeles County’s LGBTQ population was a Gallup survey of more than 374,000 people, conducted from June 2012 through December 2012. The survey asked the question, "Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender?" It focused on the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, including the Los Angeles area. The survey found the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim metropolitan area (Los Angeles and Orange Counties) to rank eighth among America’s 50 largest metro areas, with 4.6 percent of its population identifying as LGBTQ. Although Gallup, at the time, put the national average that identified as LGBTQ at 3.6 percent, its 2020 survey updated that to 5.6 percent (likely also increasing the L.A. metro area percentage).

If we were to apply the 4.6 percent survey finding against the most recent U.S. Census estimate (2022) for Los Angeles County’s adult population, we might estimate that 360,806 adult residents of the county are LGBTQ (a bit more than the entire population of the nearby city of Anaheim). A 2012 report by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health then estimated that 14,428 county residents were transgender.

Type of Coupled Households, 2020 & 2018 Census Numbers

Percentages within parenthesis equate to that of all households in the county, regardless of whether coupled or not.

Type of Household 2020 Census 2018 Census Estimates*
Married couple households Unmarried-partner households Married couple households Unmarried-partner households
All households 1,469,604 (43.0%) 254,962 (7.5%) N/A 225,503 (6.8%)
Opposite-sex couple households 1,443,280 (98.2%) 236,169 (92.6%) N/A 209,897 (93.1%)
Same-sex couple households 26,324 (1.8%) 18,793 (7.4%) N/A 15,066 (6.7%)
Male-male couple households 15,293 (1.0%) 11,327 (4.4%) N/A 9,793 (4.3%)
Female-female couple households 11,031 (0.8%) 7,466 (2.9%) N/A 5,813 (2.6%)

* U.S. Census estimates based upon data and surveys collected by the American Community Survey over the preceding five-year period. These estimates are issued annually between full Decennial Census counts conducted each decade.
N/A Estimates not provided.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Also see:
--- Mattashine Steps in Silver Lake
--- LGBTQ History Made in Los Angeles
--- World's First LGBTQ Pride Parade