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In most cases the comparisons made between LGBT adults and the general public are taken from other Pew Research Center surveys.

On the topic of same-sex marriage, not surprisingly, there is a large gap between the views of the general public and those of LGBT adults.

There are many challenges in estimating the size and composition of the LGBT population, starting with the question of whether to use a definition based solely on self-identification (the approach taken in this report) or whether to also include measures of sexual attraction and sexual behavior. Other recent survey-based research reports have made estimates in the 3.5% to 5% range.

This report makes no attempt to estimate the share of the U. However, all such estimates depend to some degree on the willingness of LGBT individuals to disclose their sexual orientation and gender identity, and research suggests that not everyone in this population is ready or willing to do so.

Four-in-ten respondents to the Pew Research Center survey identify themselves as bisexual.

Gay men are 36% of the sample, followed by lesbians (19%) and transgender adults (5%).

Compared with the general public, Pew Research LGBT survey respondents are more liberal, more Democratic, less religious, less happy with their lives, and more satisfied with the general direction of the country.

On average, they are younger than the general public.

Gay men report having reached all of these coming out milestones somewhat earlier than do lesbians and bisexuals.

The survey was conducted April 11-29, 2013, and administered online, a survey mode that research indicates tends to produce more honest answers on a range of sensitive topics than do other less anonymous modes of survey-taking. The survey finds that the LGBT population is distinctive in many ways beyond sexual orientation.

Overall, a total of 60% of LGBT survey respondents are either married or say they would like to marry one day, compared with 76% of the general public.

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