Gay recent college grad Danny Rosa had a question for the Freakonomics Radio Podcast hosts: why is it that when he walks around the typical gayborhoods like West Hollywood and Boystown in Chicago that everyone seems so…rich?
The podcast hosts pored over data from multiple published academic studies and books that asked the same questions (with names like “New Patterns Of Poverty in the LGBT Community” and “Money, Myths, and Change: The Economic Lives Of Lesbians and Gay Men”) and some of their conclusions are surprising.
Some ideas supporting the “Rich Gay” stereotype are:
- A heterosexual couple is more than 4X as likely as a gay male couple to be raising a kid. Since the estimated expenditure for a child is roughly $175,000 from birth until age 18, we all know what that means: More Andrew Christian undies, Gucci wallets, Tom Ford suits, and Atlantis cruises for EVERYONE!
- Based on Census data, the median gay male household income is $105,000, more than 20% higher than that of their straight counterparts, who top out at around $84,000.
- Studies suggest that gay men have higher than average education levels. Education levels of course lead to more $$ in the long run, possibly adding 8% more income per year for each extra year of education attained.
Now, for the bad news. Here are some facts which suggest that the “Rich Gay” stereotype may be just that…a stereotype:
- Since it is “extremely hard” to get good data on gays in general, the studies available actually speak to a very small segment of the population.
- There is also evidence that supports the idea that gay men may take on more professions that are “female-like” that actually pay a bit less on average.
- Gay men face very real job discrimination when seeking employment. In one study straight men had to apply to 8 jobs to get an interview whereas gay men had to apply to 11.
Is there true wealth in the gay community, or is it all just smoke, mirrors, and marketing? At only 21 minutes, the Freakonomics podcast is a fascinating listen, and may cause you to rethink some of your ideas about wealth in the gay community.
A transcript is available here.