Survey Provides Insight into Demographics and Health of California's Transgender Adults

Author: The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law
Published: Friday 10th November 2017 - Updated: Thursday 22nd March 2018
Summary: 92,000 transgender adults between the ages of 18 and 70 make up 0.35 percent of California adult non-institutionalized population.

There are 92,000 transgender adults in California vulnerable to health disparities...

The first release of transgender data from the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), the nation’s largest state health survey, shows the demographic characteristics of transgender adults in the state, such as size, racial makeup and marital status, as well as disparities in their health status. For example, one in five transgender adults in California have attempted suicide - a rate six times that of the state’s adult cisgender population.

The policy brief on gender identity, titled Demographic and Health Characteristics of Transgender Adults in California: Findings from the 2015-2016 California Health Interview Survey, is part of new CHIS estimates released today. CHIS is the only state-level representative survey in the US to include a two-step approach to identify transgender and cisgender respondents.

According to the brief, 92,000 transgender adults between the ages of 18 and 70 make up 0.35 percent of California’s adult non-institutionalized population.

Transgender adults have general health status, insurance and health access similar to cisgender adults, but there are notable health disparities as well.

Findings show that 22 percent of transgender adults in California have ever attempted suicide, compared to 4 percent of cisgender adults.

Transgender adults are about three times more likely to have had lifetime suicidal thoughts, 34 percent compared to 10 percent, and nearly four times more likely to have experienced serious psychological distress in the past year, 33 percent compared to 9 percent.

They are significantly more likely to report having a disability due to a physical, mental or emotional condition, 60 percent compared to 27 percent. They are more likely to delay or not get needed doctor-prescribed medicine compared to cisgender adults, 32 percent compared to 11 percent.

“In many ways, transgender adults in California are similar in characteristics and experiences to cisgender adults,” said Jody Herman, Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute and lead author of the brief. “Yet, this study points out that there’s still much that needs to be done in California to address health disparities for the transgender population.”

Access the complete California Health Interview Survey data at

Similar Topics

From our Transgender News section - Full List (68 Items)

Send us your coming events and LGBTQ related news stories.

A Summary of Data on LGBT Suicide for Suicide Prevention Month

LGBT People Could Gain Additional Protections from Discrimination After Bostock

HUD Aims to Reverse Protections for Homeless Transgender People Accessing Shelters

Bisexual Women and Girls Reproductive Health Needs Greater Attention

Only 3% of Sexually Active Transgender People Use PrEP

Experiences of Food Insecurity Among Californian LGBTQ

U.S. DOJ Files Statement of Interest Defending Constitutionality of Idaho's Fairness in Women's Sports Act

US Supreme Court Decision Protects 8.1M LGBT Workers From Employment Discrimination

Tsara Shelton
"Storytellers are powerful and we are all storytellers," suggests Tsara Shelton, author of the book Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself: A Collection of Stories that Slowly Grow Up..

LGBT Awareness & Events
List of important LGBT awareness dates and coming sexual diversity events.

Transgender Reporting Guide - English
Guide for those writing on transgender and LGBT community - Spanish Version.
Sexuality Definitions
List of definitions and glossary of sexual terms, abbreviations and their meanings.