D.C. Has Highest Transgender Identification Rate in Nation

Alex Grubbs | July 6, 2016 | 11:31am EDT
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(AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Washington, D.C. has the highest rate of transgender-identifying residents in the country, according to a recently released study by the The Williams Institute, which is associated with the University of California/Los Angeles School of Law.

Of the estimated 1.4 million transgender-identifying individuals in the United States, about 14,550 - or 2.77 percent of the total - reside in D.C., according to the think tank, which specializes in “sexual orientation and gender identity law”.

The District of Columbia “had a notably high percentage of transgender-identified adults (2.8%) and is considered an outlier due to its unique geographic (urban) and demographic profile,” according to the study findings’ endnotes.

D.C. is also the only jurisdiction where the number of individuals who identify as transgender exceeds one percent of the population.

But since D.C. is not a state, it remains an outlier. Among the 50 states, Hawaii has the highest per capita percentage of transgender-identifying residents (0.78 percent) with 8,450 individuals.

California is next, with 0.76 percent of the population identifying as transgender (218,400 individuals).

North Dakota has the lowest percentage of transgender-identifying residents per capita at 0.30 percent (1,650 individuals).

The study used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) This was the first year the BRFSS survey included questions on transgender identity.

Less than one percent of Americans (0.46 percent) listed themselves as transgender, according to the CDC survey. However, the institute’s study estimated that “0.60 percent of U.S. adults identify as transgender.”

According to the institute’s findings, young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 (0.70 percent) are more likely than older adults to identify as transgender Adults aged 25 to 64 represent a larger segment of the U.S. population, but this group has a lower rate of transgender-identifying individuals (0.60 percent) than their younger counterparts.

“The findings from this study are critical to current policy discussions that impact transgender people,” Jody Herman, one of the authors of the study, said in a press release. “Policy debates on access to bathrooms, discrimination, and a host of other issues should rely on the best available data to assess potential impacts, including how many people may be affected.”

However, a May 2015 U.S. Census Bureau working paper noted that “there is very little quantitative evidence about social and economic lives of transgender people in the United States.”

The bureau said that random surveys are not feasible because they do not reach the transgender population on a large enough scale and the definition of “transgender” has various understandings.

An earlier Williams Institute report in 2014 also pointed out that there are no questions about gender identity in several other demographic surveys, such as the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

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