New Data Sheds Light on Adults Who Say They're Transgender

More than 5% of those surveyed between ages of 18 and 29 identify as trans or nonbinary, per Pew
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2022 5:05 PM CDT
Rise in Young Adults Who ID as Transgender, Nonbinary
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/nito100)

According to new data from the Pew Research Center, more people than ever before say they identify as or know someone who's transgender (meaning their gender doesn't match the sex they were assigned at birth) or nonbinary, meaning someone who doesn't identify within the confines of just one particular gender. Pew surveyed more than 10,000 panelists from May 16 to May 22 of this year and found that 5.1% of young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 say they're either trans or nonbinary, with about 2% identifying as the former and 3% as the latter. Young adults under the age of 25 see an even higher percentage—3.1%—when it comes to identifying as transgender.

An increasing share of adults also say they personally know someone who's transgender (44%)—an uptick from the 42% found last year, and 37% in 2017. About 20% of those surveyed say they know someone who's nonbinary. The share of those who know someone who's transgender jumps to about half for those under the age of 50, though Pew notes that "still, a third of those 65 and older report knowing someone who is trans." The think tank also highlights that although Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents are more likely than Republicans to know a trans person, the 13-percentage-point gap that existed between these groups in 2021 has now been narrowed to 6 percentage points.

This new data is important "because it helps us push for better recognition and representation in government and in daily life," Olivia Hunt of the National Center for Transgender Equality tells Yahoo Life. "Showing the number of people in the US who are transgender makes it clear that we exist, and that our issues need to be taken seriously." Hunt adds that past population studies likely undercounted those in the transgender community. NBC News takes note of that murky data as well, pointing out that the Census Bureau's questions haven't historically been very inclusive. Hunt is just glad that inroads are now starting to be made, and that the findings "make it clear that trans people can be known and out as ourselves, and that we have our place in our communities," per Yahoo. (Read more transgender stories.)

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