This is how much the average US LGBTQ+ couple reportedly earns

Bright, colourful image of an LGBTQ+ couple

Ever wondered what the average LGBTQ+ couple in the US is like? Well, according to census data, they’re childless, middle-aged homeowners bringing home a six-figure salary. 

In an analysis by Business Insider, painting a picture of the average same-sex relationship in the US, several census surveys were collated for key data points, including home ownership and household earnings. The outlet measured reports by the Household Pulse Survey (HPS) and the American Community Survey (ACS) to review the lives of queer couples who live together.

Business Insider prefaced the report by detailing the population of LGBTQ+ people in America, with about three per cent of the population identifying as gay or lesbian, five per cent identifying as bisexual, and 0.4 per cent as transgender.

While other reports have found that more young people are likely to identify as LGBTQ+ than ever before, the latest findings only focused on same-sex partners who live together, which might mean the data leans more on older LGBTQ+ people.

Where are same-sex couples most likely to live?

ACS data from 2022 showed that same-sex couples are more likely to live on the coasts of America, which tend to be more accepting areas for LGBTQ+ people.

Washington DC had the highest percentage of same-sex households, at 3.6 per cent. This was followed by Vermont (1.8 per cent) and Massachusetts (1.5 per cent).

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California had the biggest number of same-sex households, at more than 162,100, followed by Texas, which had more than 107,200. These are the most-densely populated states in the country.

What are they like?

The census data found that the average same-sex couple are likely to have degrees, with both partners working, and not have children.

Business Insider’s report found that the average age of a married same-sex couple is 48.6, compared with 52.9 for married straight people. In nearly two thirds of same-sex couples, both partners were working.

Only 14.6 per cent of same-sex partners were found to have children, compared with 38.1 per cent of married straight people and 34.5 per cent of unmarried straight couples.

Several separate studies have found that same-sex couples face discrimination when it comes to adopting children, which could account for some of the differences.

Same-sex couples are more likely to have bachelor’s degrees, with 54.8 per cent of same-sex householders having successfully graduated from university. The figure is 44.5 per cent for husbands and wives.

LGBTQ+ couples are also more likely to be interracial than straight households, with 32.2 per cent of same-sex couples in such a relationship, compared with 18.6 per cent of married straight couples and 28.6 per cent of unmarried straight couples.

What do they earn?

According to the ACS census, the majority of same-sex couples have a median household income of $110,600 (£87,350).

For married same-sex couples, the average household income is $123,500 (£97, 500), compared with $109,700 (£86,600) for married straight couples.

The gender pay gap is more striking when the couple are men, as opposed to two women. Married gay men reportedly earned an average combined salary of $138,700 (£109,500) per year, while for married gay women the annual figure was $111,100 (£87,700).

The surveys also took into account those with lower incomes, with nine per cent of LGBTQ+ respondents found to earn $25,000 (£19,700) per year.

Do they own a home?

Same-sex couples in general are less likely than straight couples to have their own home, with about 62.6 per cent of LGBTQ+ people living together owning and 37.4 per cent renting. Home ownership climbs to 72.7 per cent for married same-sex couples.

Straight families are even more likely to own their homes, however, with 81.9 per cent doing so.

According to HPS data, around 15 per cent of LGBTQ+ Americans own their homes outright.

Is this an accurate picture of the average LGBTQ+ American?

While it does seem from these results that LGBTQ+ Americans are earning more, are more likely to have degrees, and have high levels of homeownership, it’s important to note that this survey only takes into account same-sex partners who are living together. 

For the average LGBTQ+ American, levels of homelessness are still high, and data shows that trans people are more likely to live in deprived areas and have worse mental health than the general population.

The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless said in its 2021 report that expansions to equality laws that prevent housing discrimination for LGBTQ+ people is one way to solve the “bleak” homelessness crisis affecting the queer community and “ensure their fates are not fraught with housing and health injustice”.

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