How Many Gays Has New York City?

Transom pal Ben Smith looks at numbers out of The Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation, which crunches data from the 2005 American Community Survey.

The Williams reports claims 8.8 million gays in the U.S.–that’s 4.1% of all 18-to 45 year olds. In New York State, they estimate there are 592,337 gays–and 568,903 in what they call the New York City-Northern New Jersey-Long Island metropolitan area. (As if!)

These numbers are contrasted with the 2000 census, which is incredibly distortive–they claim that “The number of same-sex couples increased by 30% in the United States from 2000 to 2005,” which is about the silliest thing ever. ACS is a sample, and the census is, well, a census, for starters. (The phrase they forgot to insert was “reports of….”)

So, by this count, there are on any given weekday afternoon in midtown a bit over half a million gays. But there are a few other ways to calculate our gays.

For one:

“Men who had sex with men” were given an HIV incidence rate in New York City (in 2001) of 2.5%. (That’s a number that spikes higher by other counts.) There are about 80,000 reported HIV diagnoses in New York City–44,460 of those people are men who have sex with men.

To leap to a seemingly logical conclusion: If 44,460 is 2.5% of the gay men in New York City, then there are… 1,778,400 gay men in New York. Which is almost exactly the number of people who reside in Manhattan, so apparently the entire rest of Queens and Brooklyn are lesbians. There are a few reasons why those numbers don’t play out either.