Recent Gallop polls show that U.S. adults, on average, estimate that 25% of Americans are gay or lesbian. More specifically, over half of Americans (52%) estimate that at least one in five Americans are gay or lesbian, including 35% who estimate that more than one in four are. Thirty percent put the figure at less than 15%.
As the Gallup articles points out, demographer Gary Gates recently released a review of population-based surveys on the topic which found 1.7% of Americans identify as lesbian or gay and another 1.8% (mostly women) identify as bisexual. In 2011, the Williams Institute, a gay/lesbian think tank at UCLA School of Law calculated the combined gay and lesbian population to be only 1.7 percent.
Why do Americans think there are so many gays in the U.S.? Maybe they are basing their estimations on what they see on television.