How many polyfolks are there? News media always ask, and no one really knows. My indirect method suggests it’s roughly 3 million Americans, regardless of whether they use the word “polyamory.” This is fairly consistent with surveys that ask people if they are in consensual open relationships.
For instance, writes New York University sex researcher Zhana Vrangalova, recent research “has found that, among the general heterosexual population [of US adults], about 4 to 5 percent are engaged in some form of consensual nonmonogamy.” That would be about 10 to 12 million individuals.
Now Vrangalova reports (on her Psychology Today blogsite Strictly Casual) that a study has just been published that addresses a different question, an interesting one for the future of the polyamory movement:
“Is the desire for such an arrangement limited to these 4 to 5 percent, or are there many more out there who desire it, but don’t dare seek it out or don’t believe they could ever find it?”