Bursting the bubble of alleged gay affluence, a new study from The Williams Institute claims that lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans remained more likely to be poor than heterosexual people, especially among women and African-Americans.
Of course that bubble’s been bursting for a while considering a 2009 report from the Williams Institute found that LGBTs are at a higher risk for poverty and a recent Gallup poll found that LGBTs are less educated and have less money than the straight population.
The newer Williams study, New Patterns of Poverty in the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Community, relied on data from four surveys: the 2010 American Community Survey (for same-sex couples), the 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth (for LGB people aged 18-44), the 2007-2009 California Health Interview Survey (for LGB people 18 and older living in California), and the Gallup Daily Tracking Poll (for single LGBT-identified adults).
The report had limited data on bisexual people and almost none on transgender people, highlighting, the researchers say, “the need for questions on sexual orientation and gender identity to be included on state and federal government surveys.”
Key findings include:
Yeah, but that doesn’t mean being gay makes you more likely to be poor does it? Oh, what’s that lead author M.V. Lee Badgett? “Our analysis finds that being lesbian, gay, or bisexual increases a person’s likelihood of being poor.”
Say what now?
“I think people are surprised there are any poor gay people,” Badgett told CNBC. “This ‘myth of gay affluence’ has been around for a long time. It gets in the way of people even imagining that LGBT people can be poor.”
We imagine it just fine having recently checked our bank account balances, but still it’s hard to imagine that being LGB or T can actually lead to poverty. That’s like admitting that LGBT people are still in some way a disenfranchised community, and that America has some sort of inequity towards minorities or something. And that can’t be, right?
You can read the full report here.