Open Access

Are Sexual Minorities Hard-to-Survey? Insights from the 2020 Census Barriers, Attitudes, and Motivators Study (CBAMS) Survey


As a stigmatized and vulnerable population, sexual minorities are often assumed to also be a hard-to-survey population. Despite this implicit assumption, there is little empirical evidence on the topic. Using a nationally representative survey that included sexual orientation (the Census Barriers, Attitudes, and Motivators Survey), we examine level of effort, the Census Bureau’s Low Response Score (LRS), and stated intent to respond to the 2020 Census as proxy measures to explore this assumption. We found no evidence that sexual minorities required higher levels of effort to secure participation in the survey. Additionally, we found that compared to straight respondents, lesbians, gays, and bisexuals had a higher intent to respond to the 2020 Census. We surmise the current social climate in the United States may be a contributing factor to these findings.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Mathematics, Probability and Statistics