In Brief

One in 20 young Americans identify as trans or non-binary

New research suggests that 44% of US adults know someone who is transgender

Just over 5% of Americans aged 18 to 29 say their gender is different from their birth sex, according to a new study. 

Data from a Pew Research Center survey found that 5.1% of young adults identified as transgender or non-binary, the latter term describing people who do not identify exclusively as male or female. 

Across all US adults, the figure is lower at just 1.6%, the study showed. But despite this relatively small number, many people across the country now say they know someone who is trans or non-binary. More than four in ten (44%) say they know someone who is trans and 20% know someone who is non-binary.

The findings suggest that the proportion of the US population that identifies as transgender and non-binary is significantly higher than previously estimated. In June last year, it was claimed that there were 1.2 million non-binary adults in the country, whereas the latest Pew data would indicate it is about 5.3 million.

Pew released its findings alongside a report on the “experiences, challenges and hopes of transgender and nonbinary U.S. adults”, which was guided by focus groups who offered insights into people who have become both “increasingly visible and accepted – as well as targeted and marginalised – in recent years”, The Washington Post said.

“Advocates have known for some time that statisticians have been undercounting the number of trans people in the US,” said Olivia Hunt, policy director at the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), a trans advocacy group. Because of which, “we’ve had a lot of lawmakers and policymakers dismiss the needs of trans and nonbinary people”.

Hunt added, however, that she was heartened by the increase in research, and proud of the number of people willing to come out as trans and non-binary.

“These are people who are coming out and being public because they’re not going to be intimidated,” Hunt said. “We’re a part of society that is not going away.”

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