SURVEY: The Gays Earn More Money, Have Less Debt Than Average Americans

A Prudential survey of 1,000 LGBT Americans found that we tend to make more money, have less debt and are better prepared for retirement than the so-called average (read: straight) American.

CNN reports:

Respondents not only reported significantly higher annual incomes — $61,500 compared with the national median of $50,054 — but they also carried about $4,000 less in debt than the average American and had $6,000 more in household savings. They were even slightly more likely to have jobs in the first place, with an unemployment rate of 7% versus the national rate of 7.9%, Prudential found.

…LGBT people build up significantly more equity in their homes — a median of $77,000 compared to the national median of $62,000. And, among LGBT pre-retirees ages 55 to 68, about 65% are currently saving for retirement in employer-sponsored retirement accounts, compared to 53% of the overall population. Yet, a mere 14% say they are confident about their financial preparedness, versus 29% of the general population.

According to Prudential’s Chief Diversity Officer Michelle Meyer-Shipp, LGBT people are generally well-educated, with over half of the respondents possessing a bachelor’s degree.

“It flows down — you have a higher level of education, access to higher paying jobs in areas where there are good salaries, and more disposable income to allocate to things like saving and retirement,” Meyer-Shipp said.

She also noted that the LGBT community faces unique challenges — particularly the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits otherwise afforded to heterosexual couples —  that would prompt a more prudent approach to saving.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is still dragging its judicial robe on whether to rule on DOMA.

Other studies by the Census Bureau and Experian mirrored Prudential’s findings, though a recent poll by Gallup  suggested the opposite: that LGBT Americans are actually less educated and have less money than straight Americans.

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  • viveutvivas

    Before the spree of self-congratulation starts, just remember that many of us are poorer than average. Even if this survey is true (questionable in the light of the Gallup poll finding the opposite), being richer on average does not make a minority more worthy, and being poorer does not make a minority less worthy. It is a shame that national gay organizations are almost exclusively concentrating on the concerns of the rich white conservative gay men who donate to them, such as marriage, and are pretty much ignoring the much more urgent needs of the many underprivileged queer people of all colors.

  • curan

    One benefit to the marriage ban is that it is considerably more difficult for me to make a rash decision about someone that damages my finances and complicates my life.

    As much as I like underprivileged gay men, they are often rather difficult to live with. Many are the authors of their own urgency.

    With the mess that most people make of their marriages, we should be making it more difficult for anyone to start one. Perhaps an enforced 6 month engagement that forbids cohabitation might lead to more lasting bonds.

    …but, for those states that still won’t let me marry who I wish, for them we should outlaw divorce, and give them the hell they so richly deserve.

  • fagburn

    I’m glad you added the last sentence, Queerty.

    All reliable research (ie not some silly corporate press release) does suggest the opposite – gay men do earn LESS than straight men.

    There’s an excellent website, Gay Money: The Truth About Lesbian & Gay Economics – http://blog.fawny.org/2010/11/16/gaymoney/ – that analyses over 70 research papers on “the Pink Pound” and shows this.

    More breakdown of the Prudential PR baloney here – http://www.fagburn.com/2012/12/money-money-money-lies-lies-lies.html

  • the other Greg

    The “less debt” part is easily explained by 1) having fewer children to support, compared to straights; 2) gays living more in cities as renters, compared to straight home-“owners.”

  • declanto

    @the other Greg: I may be wrong, but rentals in urban areas are/have been (traditionally)higher than house payments in suburbia, discounting the initial down-payments associated with both.

  • Tommy25

    @the other Greg I think children is the primary factor. It would be interesting if they did a study where they compared the financial situation of straight and GLBT people who don’t have children separately from those who do have children.
    Not only do children cost a lot of money to support, but they take up lots of time. People who have children have less time and energy to devote to the careers. Some of the highest paying jobs require you to work really long hours which a lot of people who have children can’t or don’t want to do. Lots of people with kids also leave the workforce for periods of time to be full time parents and thus don’t have income.

  • the other Greg

    @declanto: Probably true but that’s another point entirely. Those with house payments are IN DEBT by definition, generally for 30 years at a stretch. Renters may be paying proportionately more per month, but they generally don’t go into debt to do it. Even if a renter borrows a couple thousand $$ cash advance on a credit card, that trick is only going to work a few times at most — not much comparison to a six-figure mortgage.

    @Tommy25: Agree. Just to be clear (before anyone complains), of course many LGBTs do have children; I just meant that we have a lot fewer children compared to the straight population overall.

  • jeff4justice

    @viveutvivas: Amen. You may want to check out the forming group http://www.gotblissgroup.org becuase poverty will be a big topic in this group.

    It’s amazing how many celebs do huge fundraisers for LGBT causes and there are all these 6–figure salary executive directors but unless you’re a gay teen, senior, or person with HIV they will not help you in times of need.

    The well-to-do LGBTs could be doing much more to help their LGBT brothers and sisters in poverty.

  • Guillermo3


  • Spike

    It’s the power lesbian executives who that are making up for the retail tweaker boys who spend all their money on their gym memberships, clothes, and partying.

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