New Study Reveals Just How Many American Adults Are Non-Binary

by : Daniel Richardson on : 23 Jun 2021 19:58
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The combination of two studies has shed new light on the number of non-binary adults in the United States.

A study by The Williams Institute, which focuses on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy, has revealed how many non-binary adults may be in the United States.


The study utilised the Generations Study and the TransPop Study which collected data between 2016 and 2018 to gain insight. It is hoped that the results will raise awareness and discourage discrimination.

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On the back of the research, it was found that 1.2 million LGBTQ+ people identify as non-binary in the US. Speaking about this finding, one of the authors of the study, Bianca Wilson, told The Washington Post, ‘That number says ‘This is part of who you’re talking about when executive orders are signed to protect people against discrimination’.’

The study also looked at the stresses and challenges that non-binary people face. Alarmingly, more than 50% said they have been physically or sexually assaulted, while almost 94% have considered suicide and roughly 40% have attempted it.


Discussing wellbeing, Wilson said:

Research has shown that the stress from being a minority – stress from being a sexual and gender minority in particular – is related to psychological distress and being nonbinary is a unique kind of gender minority experience because you are constantly surrounded by binary-identified people.

Much of the mental illness is in reaction to treatment, not in-and-of-itself because someone’s nonbinary. For some people, yes, it’s sometimes a chemical imbalance in your brain, but it’s not just that, you know. If we’re not given the same resources as other people to be able to live and thrive, that is going to affect our mental health.

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Interestingly, the study found one in six members of Generation Z identified as LGBTQ+, and 76% of adults who identified as non-binary were between the ages of 18 and 29. The study also discovered 32% of transgender adults are non-binary.


These findings could be even larger as older people use different terms to describe themselves.

Wilson stated:

It’s fair to assume that on the older end of the spectrum, this [the findings] might be an underestimate and that might be about the right language to describe how older folks think about nonbinary identities, but maybe not with these labels.

The Williams Institute is now looking into areas and people this study may have missed, such as ‘nonbinary-identified people who do not identify with LGBTQ labels at all.’


If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 10am–6pm Monday to Friday, or email [email protected]

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Daniel Richardson

After graduating from university, Dan went on to work with a variety of tech startups and media outlets. These included the likes of The Hook, WhatCulture and Game Rant. Eventually, Dan found a home for his journalism at UNILAD.

Topics: News, LGBTQ+, Non-binary, US, US News


The Williams Institute and 1 other
  1. The Williams Institute

    Nonbinary LGBTQ Adults in the United States

  2. The Washington Post

    More than 1 million nonbinary adults live in the U.S., a pioneering study finds