Friday, March 20, 2009

New Study Shows LGBT Population Suffers Higher Rates of Poverty

The Williams Institute of UCLA has released a new report that undertakes the first analysis of the poor and low-income lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population. They find clear evidence that poverty is at least as common in the LGBT population as among heterosexual people and their families. This ground breaking study shatters a common stereotype that all gays and lesbians are affluent.

The report discusses various possible reasons for the economic disparity, ie: employment discrimination, lack of access to marriage, higher rates of uninsured, and less financial support from family members.

Main Findings:

  • After adjusting for a range of family characteristics that help explain poverty, gay and lesbian couple families are significantly more likely to be poor than are heterosexual married couple families.
  • Notably, lesbian couples and their families are much more likely to be poor than heterosexual couples and their families.
  • Children in gay and lesbian couple households have poverty rates twice those of children in heterosexual married couple households.
  • Within the LGB population, several groups are much more likely to be poor than others. African American people in same-sex couples and same-sex couples who live in rural areas are much more likely to be poor than white or urban same-sex couples.
  • While a small percentage of all families receive government cash supports intended for poor and low-income families, we find that gay and lesbian individuals and couples are more likely to receive these supports than are heterosexuals.
Resources/Tips for helping out underprivileged queers:

Donate to Queers for Economic Justice or a local LGBT homeless shelter.

"Clothes are for closets" - donate some old clothes, or sheets, to an LGBT homeless center.

Donate some canned goods and products to a Queer community center that serves underprivileged LGBT people.

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