CDC: 96.6 percent of Americans are straight

What percent of Americans are straight?

I would have guessed somewhere in the 90 percent range, but, as usual, I would have been wrong.

According to a report published in July by the Centers for Disease Control , 96.6% of adults identified themselves as straight in the 2013 National Health Interview Survey, which, for the first time in its 57-year history included questions about sexual orientation.

The report says 1.6 percent of 34,557 adults surveyed identified as gay or lesbian. Another 0.7 percent identified as bisexual.

Another 1.1 percent either did not answer the question (0.6 percent) or selected "something else" from the list of answers (0.2 percent) or "I don’t know" (0.4 percent).

The results largely mirror those of other studies, though the percentage of those identifying as bisexual was a bit lower (0.7 percent) than a 2008 survey (1.1 percent).

Why is the CDC interested in sexual behavior?

According to the report, "sexual minorities tend to fare worse" in various health conditions, including asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular disease. One of the goals of the federal government's Healthy People 2020 initiative is to improve the health, safety, and well-being of LGB persons.

According to the report, the survey questions were asked face-to-face by "trained interviewers with the U.S. Census Bureau."

Here are a few more details gleaned from the survey:

  • The percentage of males and females identifying as gay or lesbian or straight was consistent.
  • A higher percentage of women (0.9 percent) than men (0.4 percent) identified as bisexual.
  • Americans over 65 were less likely to identify as homosexual (0.7 percent), than younger age groups (1.9 and 1.8 percent for ages 18-44 and 45-64).
  • Younger Americans were more likely to identify as bisexual. Of those in the 18-44 age group, 1.1 percent said they were bisexual. Only 0.4 percent of those in the 45–64 age group identified as bisexual, 0.2 percent among those 65 or older.
  • Those who identified as gay or lesbian (27.2 percent) or bisexual (29.5 percent) said they smoked more often than those who said they were straight (19.6 percent).
  • Those who identified as gay or lesbian (35.1 percent) or bisexual (41.5 percent) said they consumed more alcohol (more than 5 drinks in a day at least once in the last year) than those who said they were straight (26 percent).
  • No significant difference in the amount of aerobic activity was discovered.
  • A greater percentage of women who identified as straight (63.3 percent) were in excellent or very good health compared with 54 percent of women who identified as lesbian.
  • A higher percentage of men aged 20–64 who identified as straight (30.7 percent) were obese than men who identified as gay (23.2 percent).
  • Among women aged 20–64 a higher percentage who identified as bisexual (40.4 percent) were obese than women who identified as straight (28.8 percent).

More Wednesday news nuggets you find find worthy:

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