What Percentage of the Population Is Non-Binary? 2022 Statistics

In this article, we dive deep into how many people identify as non-binary, their demographics, and what percentage of the population is non-binary. Read on: 

what percentage of the population is non binary

Non-binary people are those who feel like their gender identity doesn’t conform to solely “male” or “female.”

As a result, they often prefer alternative pronouns, such as “they/them” instead of “he/him” or “she/her,” and are a part of the broader LGBTQ community. 

Acknowledgment and understanding of non-binary people have increased significantly in the past decade. But are non-binary people actually any more common, or just more well known? In this article, we look at how many people are non-binary, the demographics of non-binary people, and more. 

Top Non-binary Population Statistics You Should Know:

  • 1,219,000 Non-binary LGBTQ adults live in the U.S., including transgender and cisgender people.
  • 11% of the LGBTQ adult population are estimated to be Non-binary people.
  • 76% of non-binary people are 18-29 years old.
  • 42.9% of Non-binary LGBTQ adults are in low-income households.
  • The majority of Non-binary youth use pronouns outside of the gender binary, such as “they/them” or neopronouns such as “xe/xem.”
  • Rates of attempted suicides are 2.5x higher in Non-binary youth who reported that “no one” respected their pronouns. 
  • In 2022, 20% of U.S. adults say they know someone who is nonbinary.
  • 67.8% of Non-binary people don’t have enough money to make ends meet.
  • 81.8% of Non-binary people experienced emotional abuse before the age of 18.

How Common Are Non-Binary People?

Generally, non-binary people are considered a small part of the greater LGBTQ community. So, how common are non-binary people globally?

According to these studies:

  • 1,219,000 Non-binary LGBTQ adults live in the U.S., including transgender and cisgender people (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a – Table 1)1
  • 11% of the LGBTQ adult population are estimated to be Non-binary people. (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a)1
  • Of LGBTQ youth: 26% (one in four) identified as Non-binary
    • 20% said they are unsure or are questioning if they are Non-binary.
      (The Trevor Project, 2021)2
  • In a study of non-binary people, 72% of youth used the term “Non-binary” to describe their gender identity. (The Trevor Project, 2021)2
  • The following are the most commonly used gender identity labels within the non-binary umbrella:
    • 29% of youth use “queer.”
    • 27% of youth use “gender non-conforming.”
    • 24% of youth use “genderfluid.”
    • 23% of youth use “genderqueer.”
    • 23% of youth use “androgynous.”
    • 15% of youth use “agender.”
    • 10% of youth use “demigirl.”
    • 8% of youth use “demiboy.”
    • 4% of youth use “genderflux.”
    • 4% of youth use “bigender.”
      (The Trevor Project, 2021)2
  • 1% of the population across 27 countries are non-binary, non-conforming, or gender-fluid people.
    • Countries surveyed were Germany, Chile, Argentina, Sweden, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Hungary, Australia, Malaysia, Canada, France, Great Britain, India, Turkey, Japan, China, Peru, Russia, United States, Belgium, Italy, South Korea, Netherlands, Colombia, Poland, and South Africa.(IPSOS, 2021)3
  • Non-binary people only make up 0.14% of the entire population of Canada.
    • In May 2021, 41,355 people in Canada aged 15 and older were Non-binary. (Statistics Canada, 2022)4
  • 0.4% of Swiss residents see themselves as Non-binary people.
    • In a 2021 survey, 99.6% of people in Switzerland see themselves clearly as a man or woman (Swiss Info, 2021)5
  • 1.19% of Brazilians were Non-binary people out of 6,000 people in a representative sample of Brazil’s adult population. (Scientific Reports, 2021)6

Demographic Profiles of Non-binary People in America

Non-binary people in the U.S. are of all walks of life and are represented in all religions, races, and ages. According to this data, they generally skew younger, are underemployed, and are more likely to date other non-binary/transgender people:

  • Demographics of Non-binary LGBTQ adults in the U.S.:
    • 76% are 18-29 years old.
    • 88% live in an urban area.
    • 58% are White.
    • 96% were born in the United States.
      (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a – Figure 2)1
  • Age groups of Non-binary LGBTQ adults:
    • 18-29 years old: 76.2%
    • 30-45 years old: 16.0%
    • 46-60 years old: 7.8%
    • 60+: 0%
      (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a – Table A.1)1
  • Non-binary people by race/ethnicity identity:
    • White: 58.3%
    • Multiracial: 16.1%
    • Hispanic/Latinx: 14.9%
    • Black/African American: 8.7%
    • Another race/ethnicity: 2.0%
      (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a)1
  • Non-binary LGBTQ adults area of living in regions of the U.S.:
    • Western U.S.: 31.2% of Non-binary LGBTQ adults
    • Southern U.S.: 27.3% of Non-binary LGBTQ adults
    • Northeastern U.S.: 25.3% of Non-binary LGBTQ adults
    • Midwestern U.S.: 16.3% of Non-binary LGBTQ adults
      (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a – Table A.1)1
  • 12.5% of Non-binary LGBTQ adults have children.
    • 9.1% of Non-binary LGBTQ adults have children under 18 years old at home.
      (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a – Table A.1)1
  • Education levels of Non-binary LGBTQ adults:
    • High School or less: 47.5%
    • Some College: 28.1%
    • College: 15.7%
    • Higher education after college (Ph.D., Masters, etc.): 8.6%
      (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a -Table A.1)1
  • 42.9% of Non-binary LGBTQ adults are in low-income households.
    (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a – In Table A.2)1
  • Employment levels of Non-binary LGBTQ adults:
    • Employed full-time (employer): 48.1%
    • Employed full-time (self): 4.0%
    • Employed part-time, do not want a full-time job: 21.3%
    • Unemployed: 7.0%
    • Not in the workforce: 11.3%
      (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a -Table A.2)1

  • 62.1% of Non-binary LGBTQ adults have a partner. (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a – Table A.3)1
  • Partner’s gender among Non-binary LGBTQ adults:
    • 31.1% of Non-binary LGBTQ adults have a partner who is Female.
    • 39.8% of Non-binary LGBTQ adults have a partner who is Male.
    • 29.2% of Non-binary LGBTQ adults have a partner who is Transgender/Non-binary.
      (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a – Table A.3)1
  • Relationship and marriage status of Non-binary LGBTQ adults:
    • Lives with partner
      • Of those partner’s gender is Female: 76.4%
      • Of those partner’s gender is Male: 58.8%
      • Of those partner’s gender is Trans/Non-binary: 54.2%
    • Married
      • Of those partner’s gender is Female: 17.7%
      • Of those partner’s gender is Male: 7.7%
      • Of those partner’s gender is Trans/Non-binary: 15.7%
    • Registered or civil unions
      • Of those partner’s gender is Female: 1.48%
      • Of those partner’s gender is Male: 0.0%
      • Of those partner’s gender is Trans/Non-binary: 10.6%
    • Not legally married
      • Of those partner’s gender is Female: 80.8%
      • Of those partner’s gender is Male: 92.3%
      • Of those partner’s gender is Trans/Non-binary: 73.7%
        (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a – Table A.3)1
  • Health care access among Non-binary LGBTQ adults:
    • 79% of Non-binary people have a usual place where they receive health care and have health insurance
    • 9.8% of Non-binary people lack health insurance or are uninsured.
      (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a – Table A.11)1

Gender Identity Among Non-binary People

Among non-binary people, there is a wide range of gender identities, according to these studies: 

  • Gender Identity among non-binary people:
    • 58% of all Non-binary LGBTQ adults are cisgender, and 42% are transgender.
      (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021b)7
    • Gender identities among Non-binary LGBTQ adults:
      • 42% identify as transgender
      • 39% identify as cisgender LBQ (Lesbian, Bisexual, or Queer)
      • 19% identify as cisgender GBQ (Gay, Bisexual, or Queer)
        (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021b)7
    • 50% of youth who identified as Non-binary also identified as transgender; (The Trevor Project, 2021)2

Sexual Orientation among non-binary people:

  • Queer: 31%
  • Bisexual: 17%
  • Pansexual: 17%
  • Asexual spectrum: 14%
  • Gay: 10%
  • Lesbian: 6%
  • Same-gender-loving: 3%
  • Another identity: 2%
    (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a – Figure 3)1

Pronouns of Non-binary Youth

Non-binary people generally prefer pronouns different from “he/him” or “she/her.” The most common of these is “they/them,” but it’s not the majority. Here’s what studies have found about the most commonly used pronouns for non-binary youth:

  • The majority of Non-binary youth use pronouns outside of the gender binary, such as “they/them” or neopronouns such as “xe/xem.” (The Trevor Project, 2021)2
  • The following are the most common pronouns used by Non-binary Youth:
    • 33% use “They/them” only.
    • 21% use Additional Combinations.
    • 20% use “She/They.”
    • 16% use “He/They.”
    • 5% use something else, with the most common neopronouns being “xe/xem.”
    • 3% use “He/him” only.
    • 2% use “She/her” only.
      (The Trevor Project, 2021)2
  • When asked about ways other people can make them feel happy or euphoric about their gender, Non-binary youth overwhelmingly responded: having people in their life use the correct name and pronouns to refer to them. (The Trevor Project, 2021)2
  • Rates of attempted suicides are 2.5x higher in Non-binary youth who reported that “no one” respected their pronouns. 
    • Compared to those who reported that “all or most of the people” they know respected their pronouns.
      (The Trevor Project, 2021)2
  • Non-binary youth who have attempted suicide:
    • 27%: “None of the people I know respected my pronouns.”
    • 21%: “A few of the people I know respected my pronouns.”
    • 19%: “Some of the people I know respected my pronouns.”
    • 15%: “A lot of the people I know respected my pronouns.”
    • 10%: “All or most of the people I know respected my pronouns.”
      (The Trevor Project, 2021)2

The Rise of Non-Binary Understanding

Unfortunately, there haven’t been detailed studies on the total number of non-binary Americans through the years. So, in this section, we’ve tried to demonstrate the rise of the term “non-binary” among Americans and the percentage of Americans who personally knows a “non-binary” person through the years.

  • In 2018, 60% of Americans said they’ve heard “at least a little” about people preferring gender-neutral pronouns such as “they” instead of “he” or “she.” 
    • 22% say they have heard “a lot.”
    • 38% say they have heard “a little” about preferences for such pronouns.
      (Pew Research Center, 2019)8
  • In 2022, 79% say they have heard “at least a little” about people not having a gender or using terms such as “nonbinary” or “gender fluid” to describe their gender.
    • 26% say they have heard a lot about this concept.
      (Pew Research Center, 2022)9
  • In 2018, 18% of Americans said they personally know someone who goes by such pronouns. (Pew Research Center, 2019)8
  • In 2021, 26% of U.S. adults said that they personally know someone who goes by gender-neutral pronouns.
    • This is an 8% total increase compared to 2018.
      (Pew Research Center, 2021)10
  • In 2022, 20% of U.S. adults say they know someone who is nonbinary. (Pew Research Center, 2022)9
  • 42% of adults younger than 30 say they have heard much about being non-binary in 2022. (Pew Research Center, 2022)9
  • Percentages of Americans knowing someone personally is non-binary (does not identify as a man or a woman) by age group, 2022:
    • All adults: 20%
    • Ages 18-29: 37%
    • Ages 30-49: 24%
    • Ages 50-64: 13%
    • Ages 65+: 7%
      (Pew Research Center, 2022)9

Experienced Childhood and Adulthood Victimization Among Non-Binary People

Unfortunately, LGBTQ people, and non-binary people, in particular, are at significantly higher risk of abuse throughout their lives than the rest of the population. Here’s what the data says:

  • Rates of Childhood abuse among Non-binary LGBTQ adults (before age 18):
    • 81.8% of Non-binary people experienced emotional abuse.
    • 40.4% of Non-binary people experienced physical abuse.
    • 40.5% of Non-binary people experienced sexual abuse.
      (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a – Table A.9)1
  • Childhood family issues among Non-binary LGBTQ adults (before age 18):
    • 33.7% of Non-binary people experienced household intimate partner violence.
    • 46.3% of Non-binary people experienced household substance abuse.
    • 65.1% of Non-binary people experienced household mental illness.
    • 39.7% of Non-binary people experienced parental separation or divorce.
    • 15.9% of Non-binary people experienced the incarceration of a household member.
      (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a -Table A.9)1

  • Current chronic challenges experienced among Non-binary LGBTQ adults:
    • 67.8% of Non-binary people don’t have enough money to make ends meet.
    • 67.8% of Non-binary people have jobs that often leave them feeling both mentally and physically tired.
    • 50.5% of Non-binary people are looking for a job and can’t find one they want.
    • 55.8% of Non-binary people are alone too much.
    • 45.5% of Non-binary people wonder whether they will ever find a partner or spouse.
    • 59.8% of Non-binary people have strained or conflicted relationships with their parents.
      (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a – Table A.8)1

  • Everyday discrimination among Non-binary LGBTQ adults:
    • 57.7% of Non-binary people were treated with less courtesy than other people.
    • 54.4% of Non-binary people were treated with less respect than other people.
    • 35.7% of Non-binary people received poorer service than other people at restaurants or stores.
    • 55.4% of Non-binary people experienced people acting as if they thought Non-binary people were not smart.
    • 30.3% of Non-binary people experienced people acting as if they were afraid of Non-binary people.
    • 35.2% of Non-binary people experienced people acting as if they thought Non-binary people were dishonest.
    • 70.1% of Non-binary people experienced people acting as if they were better than Non-binary people.
    • 42.4% of Non-binary people were called names or insulted.
    • 28.7% of Non-binary people were threatened or harassed (often or sometimes).
      (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a – Table A.7)1

  • Conversion therapy/sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts among Non-binary LGBTQ adults:
    • 11.1% of Non-binary people received conversion therapy/sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts.
    • 69.0% of Non-binary people who received conversion therapy were under 18 years old.
    • 44.0% of Non-binary people who received conversion therapy received it from a healthcare provider.
    • 37.6% of Non-binary people who received conversion therapy received it from a religious leader.(Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a – Table A.10)1

Note: “Conversion therapy” is defined as a discriminatory practice with the intention of the therapy to make someone “straight.”


Physical and Mental Health of Non-Binary People

Many non-binary adults experience higher levels of mental health problems, and non-binary people see extremely high levels of suicide attempts:

  • Health among Non-binary LGBTQ adults:
    • 41.1% of Non-binary people said their health was poor or fair.
    • 58.9% of Non-binary people said their health was good, very good, or excellent.
      (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a – A.12)1
  • Psychological distress among Non-binary LGBTQ adults:
    • 51.3% of Non-binary adults have a serious mental illness.
    • 89.5% of Non-binary adults have moderate distress or serious mental illness.
      (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a – Table A.13)1
  • Suicide rates among Non-binary LGBTQ adults:
    • 93.8% of Non-binary LGBTQ adults have had suicidal ideation.
    • 39.3% of Non-binary LGBTQ adults have attempted suicide.
    • 74.1% of Non-binary LGBTQ adults have had non-suicidal self-injury.
      (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a – Table A.13)1
  • Well-being/Happiness among Non-binary LGBTQ adults:
    • Very happy: 6.4%
    • Pretty happy: 52.5%
    • Not too happy: 41.1%
      (Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a – Table A.13)1
  • Non-binary people reported greater severity of mental health outcomes than those with a binary identity on all mental health measures. (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2021)11
  • Mental health outcomes based on gender identification:
    • Note:
      • Anxiety has a scale ranging from 0 to 4. Higher scores reflect greater anxious symptoms.
      • Depression has a scale ranging from 0 to 27. Higher scores indicate greater depressive symptoms.
      • General Health Questionnaire has a scale ranging from 0 to 36. Higher scores indicate a greater degree of psychological distress.
    • Binary people:
      • Anxiety: 1.23
      • Depression: 9.71
      • General Health: 15.46
    • Non-binary people:
      • Anxiety: 1.67
      • Depression: 13.18
      • General Health: 18.22
        (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2021)11

Conclusion

The number of people who identify as non-binary has been increasing significantly in the past years, likely because of the wider acceptance of the LGBTQ community. However, non-binary people still experience significantly higher rates of abuse, mental health issues, and rates of suicide. The simple act of acknowledging their preferences can go a long way in helping non-binary people feel respected.

Footnotes

  1. Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021a. A study of 164 Non-binary LGBTQ adults of two national surveys of LGBTQ adults.
  2. The Trevor Project, 2021. A study of 8,998 American Non-binary respondents.
  3. IPSOS, 2021. A survey of 19,069 online participants
  4. Statistics Canada, 2022. A census data of transgender and Non-binary people in Canada
  5. Swiss Info, 2021. An article about the number of non-binary people in Switzerland. Original source link: Sotomo, 2021. A survey of 2,690 Swiss residents. Note: Referred to a third-party site as the original source link is in German.
  6. Scientific Reports, 2021. A study of 6,000 Brazilian adults.
  7. Williams Institute, School of Law, UCLA, 2021b. A study of 164 Non-binary LGBTQ adults of two national surveys of LGBTQ adults.
  8. Pew Research Center, 2019. A report of a survey of U.S. adults ages 18 and older.
  9. Pew Research Center, 2022. A report on the survey of 10,188 U.S. adults.
  10. Pew Research Center, 2021. A report on the survey of 10,606 U.S. adults.
  11. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2021. A study of 197 Italian Transgender and gender-nonconforming people aged 18 to 54 years.
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Dainis Graveris

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