State MSM Profile: Alabama

Background & Methods

In 2015-2016, researchers at Emory University partnered with colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop methods to estimate the number of men who have sex with men (MSM) residing in each county in the United States. Using population and housing data from the American Community Survey and estimates from two peer-reviewed publications (Oster et al., 2015 & Purcell et al., 2012), they derived an indirect estimate of MSM population sizes that took into account both the urbanicity of the county as well as its density of households with a male householder and a male same-sex partner.

The full methodology is published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research - Public Health and Surveillance:

Grey JA, Bernstein KT, Sullivan PS, Purcell DW, Chesson HW, Gift TL, Rosenberg ES. Estimating the population sizes of men who have sex with men in US states and counties using data from the American Community Survey. JMIR Public Health Surveill 2016;2(1):e14. DOI: 10.2196/publichealth.5365

Overview of MSM in Alabama

An estimated 40,600 men who have sex with men (MSM) resided in Alabama in 2013, representing 0.9% of the 4,503,084 MSM in the United States. Of the 1,754,583 adult men of Alabama, 2.3% had had sex with another man in the past 5 years, which was less than the overall percentage of adult men in the United States who were MSM (3.9%).

Most MSM in Alabama resided in counties within medium or small metropolitan areas (40.7%). Including both central and fringe counties, 40.3% resided in a large metropolitan area.


Percentage of MSM by urbanicity, United States and Alabama, 2013

MSM in Alabama Counties

Among counties or county-equivalent areas in Alabama, Jefferson County had the largest population of MSM at 10,540, representing 26.0% of all MSM in the state. Cleburne County had the highest percentage of MSM among adult men in Alabama at 5.5%. This was greater than the percentage for Alabama as a whole, which was 2.3% of adult men.

Note: Range cutpoints for the map are based on the distribution of MSM among all counties in the United States.