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LGBTQ+ Pride Month

What data do you have on the characteristics and well-being of sexual and gender minority people?


Inclusion of questions about sexual orientation and gender identity on federal surveys allows for a better understanding of sexual and gender minority (SGM) people relative to the general population. These questions generate data to inform the development of resources and interventions to better serve the SGM community. Giving respondents the opportunity to describe themselves and bring their “whole self” to a questionnaire also helps them to be more fully seen and heard by researchers and policymakers.

Sexual minorities are people whose sexual orientation is something other than straight or heterosexual.

Gender minorities are people whose sex a recorded at birth is different from their gender.

Sometimes, we get asked why questions like this appear on an education survey. They can be sensitive questions for some people, after all. We ask these questions so we can better understand educational equity and outcomes for SGM people, just as we do for other demographic groups, such as those defined by race, ethnicity, household income, and region of the country. Just as is the case for other demographic groups, it is possible that SGM people have unique experiences as compared with students and educators from other demographic groups.

Over the past 10 years, NCES has researched how to best ask respondents about their sexual orientation and gender identity, how respondents react to these questions, and what the quality of the data is that NCES has collected in questionnaires and datasets that include sexual orientation and gender identity information.

At NCES, several studies include background questions for adults about their sexual orientation and gender identity, including the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09) Second Follow-up in 2016, the Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (B&B) 08/18 and 16/21 collections, the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS) in 2020, the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS) 20/22 and 20/25 collections, and the 2023–24 National Teacher and Principal Survey. In addition, the School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and sponsored by NCES, asks students ages 12–18 in grades 6–12 several questions related to sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity.

Collectively, these several surveys enable NCES to describe the experiences of, and explore issues pertinent to, students who identify as sexual and gender minorities. For example:

Among students ages 12–18 enrolled in grades 6–12 who reported being bullied, percentage who reported that they thought the bullying was related to their sexual orientation: 2017, 2019, and 2022

The data in this figure is described in the surrounding text.

! Standard error for this estimate is 30 to 50 percent of the estimate’s value.
* Statistically significantly different (p < .05) from 2022.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2017, 2019, and 2022 School Crime Supplement (SCS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).

1 On the NCES surveys mentioned above, gender identity categories include male; female; transgender, male-to-female; transgender, female-to-male; genderqueer or gender nonconforming; a different gender identity; and more than one gender identity.

SOURCE: National Center for Education Statistics. (2024). Celebrate LTBGQ+ Pride Month With NCES. NCES Blog. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved May 31, 2024, from

Related Tables and Figures:  (Listed by Release Date)

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