One in six Gen Z adults identify as LGBT — the highest percentage of any generation in history — and that number is likely to continue to increase, according to survey data released by Gallup.
Gallup’s latest survey data, based on more than 15,000 interviews conducted throughout 2020 with Americans age 18 and older, found that 5.6% of U.S. adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, up from 4.5% in Gallup’s findings based on 2017 data.
One in six adults in Generation Z, people born between 1997 and 2002, identify as LGBT compared to 9.1% of millennials, 3.8% of Generation X, 2% of Baby Boomers, and 1.3% of Traditionalists.
The growth in Americans who identify as something other than heterosexual is likely to continue to increase, Gallup’s Senior Editor Jeffrey Jones wrote in announcing the results. He said that those in younger generations are more likely than those in older generations to consider themselves LGBT.
“At a time when Americans are increasingly supportive of equal rights for gay, lesbian and transgender people, a growing percentage of Americans identify themselves as LGBT. With younger generations far more likely than older generations to consider themselves LGBT, that growth should continue,” Jones wrote.
Gallup notes that one of the most significant recent advances in LGBT rights was the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015. In June 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court also ruled that civil rights law protected gay and transgender workers.
Gallup’s findings come on the heels of a recent study from Barna that found that two-thirds of teens and young adults (65%) agree that “many religions can lead to eternal life” compared to 58% of teens and young adults surveyed in 2018.
Additionally, 31% of teens and young adults “strongly agree” that what is “morally right and wrong changes over time, based on society,” compared to just 25% in 2018.
A 2018 study from Barna similarly characterized Gen Z as the “first truly ‘post Christian’ generation,” with only 4% adhering to a biblical worldview.
“[M]oral relativism hasn't just crept into the worldview of Gen Z,” said Jonathan Morrow, director of cultural engagement and student discipleship at Impact 360 Institute. “It is now the majority opinion.”
Ryan Ries, co-founder of The Whosevers, a movement that seeks to deliver the message of the Gospel to schools and empower students to live boldly for Christ, told The Christian Post that these recent statistics reveal how important it is for young people to have a positive, biblically-grounded influence in their life.
“Anxiety, depression, suicide, identity issues — all of these things are at an all-time high right now,” he said. “We’re seeing it across schools, we’re seeing across the country.”
Parents, youth pastors, and anyone who works with teens and young people need to “be honest about the statistics and really let them know what’s going on,” Ries stressed.
“Kids know they are depressed, suicidal, and struggling, and when you try to sugarcoat the Gospel and avoid hard issues, they aren’t going to know there is freedom that can take place,” he explained. “We’ve got to have good conversations and address these things because otherwise, we’re missing an opportunity to have a high impact and disciple these kids.”
Thanks to social media, young people are able “to sin in the most radical ways,” Ries said, adding: “When we were young, we had to figure out how to sin. We're living in a whole different time, where kids who are 9 years old have the mind of teenagers because of the content that they’re exposed to. They’re getting immune to it, callous to it, and corrupted by it.”
But as a result, Ries said, the “harvest is ripe” for the Gospel. He said that he’s seen an unprecedented increase in teens and young people dedicating their lives to the Lord in recent months.
“The fruit is so ripe that it's literally falling off the trees up to this point,” he said. “Everyone is giving their life to the Lord. You’ve got to have a conversation with them, be genuine with them, let them know that you love them and that God loves them. They are so eager for the freedom and truth the Gospel gives.”