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Sexual and Gender Minority Clearinghouse


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Sexual and Gender Minority Clearinghouse

About the Sexual and Gender Minority Question Clearinghouse

The Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) Clearinghouse is designed to help improve the understanding of sexual and gender minority health and disparities, and provide information on health care access, health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services. Use this Clearinghouse as a resource to find surveys that include questions about sexual identity, attraction, and behavior. It also includes data on gender identity and household relationships.

Understanding Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) Topics and Terms

Sexual Orientation

Sexual orientation has three main dimensions: sexual identity, sexual attraction, and sexual behavior.

  • Sexual identity refers to the way a person self-identifies with a given sexual orientation.
  • Sexual attraction refers to the individuals to whom a person is physically and/or emotionally attracted.
  • Sexual behavior refers to the gender(s) of the individuals with whom that person engages in sexual activity.

The most commonly used terms to describe different sexual orientations are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and straight/heterosexual. Because of the complexity of sexual orientation, some surveys focus only on sexual identity while others measure all three components.

Gender Identity

Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of their gender (e.g., being a man, woman, genderqueer, or gender non-conforming) and potential affiliation with a gender community (e.g., women, trans women, genderqueer). There are several dimensions of gender that can be measured, depending on the goal of the survey: gender identity, gender expression, and gender dysphoria.


Most surveys and administrative data collect demographic data on a person’s sex. The category “sex” is not clearly defined in surveys to differentiate it from gender identity. In some surveys, the “sex” category is completed by the interviewer based on visual assumption only. Gender identity is not the same as sex, although male and female are two of the gender identity options that some people may choose.

Household Relationships

Household relationships refers to understanding who lives within the same housing unit as the respondent. Defining and accurately measuring household relationships using surveys has been a challenge. However, despite the difficulty, some federal surveys collect household relationship data. Data from some of these surveys can provide an indirect estimate of the SGM population through the measurement of same-sex couple households.

Sexual and Gender Minority Data

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Doctor taking patient's blood pressure

Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

This survey collects state data about United States adults regarding their health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services.

SGM Topics: Sexual orientation, gender identity.
Download (PDF, 147KB)
Doctor helping older patient with exercise using an elastic band

Health Center Patient Survey (HCPS) Bureau of Primary Health Care, Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA)

The purpose of this survey is to determine how well sites supported by the HRSA Health Center Program deliver access to quality primary health care to the medically underserved and assesses how patients perceive the quality of their care.

SGM Topics: Sexual identity, gender identity.
Download (PDF, 114KB)
Young girl dressed in a black sweater with a sad expression on her face.

National Adult Tobacco Survey (NATS) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

This survey assesses the prevalence of tobacco use, and factors promoting and impeding tobacco use among adults. It also establishes a comprehensive framework for evaluating national and state tobacco control programs.

SGM Topics: Sexual identity, gender identity.
Download (PDF, 118KB)
Older woman exercising with light weights.

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) National Center for Health Statistics (CDC NCHS)

A program of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States by combining interviews and physical examinations.

SGM Topics: Sexual identity, sexual behavior.
Download (PDF, 126KB)
Group of diverse-looking people smiling

National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) National Center for Health Statistics (CDC)

This survey provides statistical information on the amount, distribution, and effects of illness and disability of the civilian noninstitutionalized population in the United States and the services rendered for or because of such conditions.

SGM Topics: Sexual identity.
Download (PDF, 120KB)
Two women reading with their young daughter

National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG)
National Center for Health Statistics (CDC)

This survey gathers information from Americans ages 15-49 on family life, marriage, divorce, pregnancy, infertility, use of contraception, and men’s and women’s health.

SGM Topics: Sexual identity, sexual attraction, sexual behavior.
Download (PDF, 154KB)
Two older men hugging.

National Survey of Older Americans Act Participants (NSOAAP) Administration for Community Living / Administration on Aging (AoA)

This survey is a collection of annual national surveys of recipients of select Title III services. The survey instruments focus on consumer assessment of service quality and consumer-reported outcomes. The instruments also measure special needs characteristics such as physical and social functioning of people who receive services.

SGM Topics: Sexual identity.
Download (PDF, 111KB)
Older woman grabbing medicine from a medicine cabinet

National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

The primary objectives of this survey are to provide accurate data on Americans ages 12 and older in the following areas: level and patterns of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal substance use and abuse; trends in the use of alcohol, tobacco, and various drugs; assessment of the consequences of substance use and abuse; and identification of groups at high risk for substance use and abuse.

SGM Topics: Sexual identity, sexual attraction.
Download (PDF, 136KB)
Image of two young girls. One looking sad and the other comforting her

Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

A national longitudinal study of tobacco use and how it affects the health of Americans aged 12 and older. The PATH study looks at differences in tobacco use-related attitudes, behaviors, and health.

SGM Topics: Sexual identity, sexual attraction, gender identity.
Download (PDF, 128KB)
Two young men at a party kissing

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

This survey monitors six types of health-risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among youth and young adults, including behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence; sexual behaviors related to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases; tobacco use; unhealthy dietary behaviors; and inadequate physical activity. The survey also measures the prevalence of obesity and asthma, as well as other priority health-related behaviors, sexual identity, and sex of sexual contacts.

SGM Topics: Sexual identity, sexual behavior.
Download (PDF, 96KB)

U.S. Department of Justice


Two young women. One crying with her hands over her face, the other with her hand on the shoulder of the crying woman.

National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)

This survey collects information from Americans ages 12 and older on nonfatal personal crimes (rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated and simple assault, and personal larceny) and household property crimes (burglary, motor vehicle theft, and other theft) both reported and not reported to the police.

SGM Topics: Sexual identity, gender identity.
Download (PDF, 135KB)
Image of woman sitting dow in a prison uniform with handcuffs

National Inmate Survey (NIS) Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)

This is part of BJS’s National Prison Rape Statistics Program, which gathers mandated data on the incidence and prevalence of sexual assault in correctional facilities.

SGM Topics: Sexual identity, sexual attraction, sexual behavior, gender identity.
Download (PDF, 123KB)

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