The Atlantic has an interesting look at the myth in the United States that gays and lesbians are, on average, wealthier than heterosexuals.
That myth apparently gained traction, according to the Atlantic, as part of efforts to de-stigmatize homosexuality. Market research performed to convince companies that gays and lesbians were worth their efforts to market to left the impression that homosexuals were more affluent than heterosexuals. But, as law professor Gary Gates tells The Atlantic,
The downside is that those marketing studies looked at the LGBT community as a consumer market, which is a very different perspective compared with how a social science researcher who does poverty research would look at those questions.
Gates recently wrote a report for the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law noting that, in fact, LGBT adults are more likely to find themselves experiencing poverty and food insecurity,
Rates of food insecurity are higher for LGBT adults when compared to non-LGBT adults across several national surveys, and across gender, age, racial/ethnic, and education level groups. After taking these factors into account:
- LGBT adults are 1.7 times more likely than non-LGBT adults to not have had enough money to feed themselves or their family in the past year.
- LGB adults aged 18-44 are 1.3 times more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to receive food stamps.
- Same-sex couples are 1.7 times more likely than different-sex couples to receive food stamps.
- LGB adults aged 18-44 raising children are 1.8 times more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to receive food stamps.
- Same-sex couples raising children under age 18 are 2.1 times more likely than comparable different-sex couples to receive food stamps
The Atlantic article speculates that ongoing discrimination against gay, lesbian and bisexuals in the job market is a major contributing cause of this. The article cites a study demonstrating that adding membership in a college LGBT organization on a resume significantly reduced the odds of of male job applicants from getting a callback for a job interview.