Demographic Perspectives on Sexual Orientation

Gary J. Gates

in Handbook of Psychology and Sexual Orientation

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199765218
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979585 | DOI:
Demographic Perspectives on Sexual Orientation

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This chapter summarizes existing literature that describes the demographic, economic, and geographic characteristics of lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations. It begins with a discussion of some of the data and methodological challenges associated with studying sexual orientation as a demographic characteristic. It then presents analyses to describe estimates of the size of lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations, as well as information about coming out (i.e., disclosure of these identities). The remainder of the chapter considers how lesbian, gay, and bisexual populations compare with the heterosexual population with regard to a variety of demographic characteristics including geographic distribution, age, race/ethnicity, educational attainment, socioeconomic status, family formation, and child-rearing.

Keywords: lesbians; gays; bisexuals; homosexual; sexual behavior; coming out; demographic data

Chapter.  10484 words. 

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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