LGBT Americans are poorer than straight people, says study

A same-sex couple holding hands, representing the gay couples who met online

LGBT+ people in the US are more likely to be poor than straight people, according to a new study.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, found that lesbian and bisexual women were the worst off.

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LGBT+ people were also found to be less likely than their heterosexual counterparts to own their own house, with black and Hispanic lesbian and bisexual women the least likely to be home-owners.

Lesbian and bisexual women were also found to be less likely to graduate from college than straight women, and went on to earn less money too. Conversely, gay and bisexual men were found to be more likely to have a college education than straight people – however they were also found to earn less and reported having experienced more financial difficulty than heterosexuals.

Lesbian and bisexual women were more likely to live on the poverty line, with higher numbers reporting being in reciept of welfare payments or food stamps. They were also more likely to report that they felt like they had a lower social status than others.

The findings were discovered through a study of 14,000 young people – both LGBT+ and straight – who were in seventh through 12th grades in 1994, and they were followed until they were 24 to 34 in 2008 and 2009.

The study points towards ongoing issues of wage discrimination in the LGBT+ community.

The authors of the study suggest that the inequality faced by LGBT+ women could be reduced by “promoting the achievement of sexual minority girls and young women.”

They also said that the finding that gay and bisexual men were more likely to finish college was “unexpected”, as “men report higher rates of school harassment than their heterosexual peers.”

Socioeconomic status is considered to be fundamentally important to a person’s health, however there has been limited research into how this affects LGBT+ people.

The study comes after a report released in April found that gay, lesbian and bisexual people were more likely to suffer from physical and mental health issues.

The report suggested that the symptoms could be explained by the minority stress model, which claims that stressors can be anything from internalised homophobia to negative social attitudes and actual instances of intolerance violence.