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2.3 million Latinx LGBT adults live in the US

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A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that an estimated 2.3 million adults in the U.S. identify as Hispanic or Latino/a and LGBT.
 
Researchers found that Latinx LGBT people fare worse than their non-LGBT counterparts on some measures of economic and social vulnerability, including unemployment and food insecurity. In addition, Latinx LGBT adults face disparities in mental and physical health such as depression, asthma, and chronic health conditions compared to non-LGBT adults.
 
However, similarities were found between the two groups, including household annual income and experiences of victimization and discrimination.
 
This study provides information on the well-being of Latinx adults in the U.S., as well as additional analyses of Latinx LGBT subgroups, such as Mexican, Central American, and South American LGBT people in California.
 
“In terms of economic security, we see both similarities and differences between Latinx LGBT and non-LGBT adults,” said lead author Bianca D.M. Wilson, Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute. “The fact that Latinx LGBT adults tend to be younger may contribute to  disparities in employment and food insecurity, while U.S. citizenship—which many Latinx LGBT adults in California have—may help close the poverty gap.”
 
KEY FINDINGS
 
Demographic Characteristics

  • There are an estimated 2.3 million Latinx LGBT adults in the US.
  • 65% of Latinx LGBT adults are under age 35, compared to 45% of non-LGBT adults.
  • Just over half (52%) of LGBT Latinx adults are women, and 48% are men. 
  • Fewer Latinx LGBT adults (44%) than non-LGBT adults (57%) are raising children.

Economic Characteristics

  • Latinx LGBT adults are more likely to be unemployed (10% vs. 8%) and to experience food insecurity (32% vs. 25%) than Latinx non-LGBT adults.
  • 37% of Latinx LGBT adults and 39% of non-LGBT adults live with a household income below $24,000 per year.
  • Latinx LGBT adults are less likely to live in low-income households than non-LGBT adults, however, the rates of poverty are high for both groups: 60% of Latinx LGBT adults live below 200% of the federal poverty level, compared to 63% of non-LGBT Latinx adults.

Mental and Physical Health

  • Nearly one-third (30%) of Latinx LGBT adults have been diagnosed with depression, compared to 16% of Latinx non-LGBT adults.
  • Latinx LGBT women have the highest rates of depression (35%) compared with non-LGBT women (20%) and both groups of men.
  • Latinx LGBT adults (12%) are more likely to have Medicaid as their primary insurance compared to Latinx non-LGBT adults (9%).

Discrimination and Stress

  • 17% of Latinx LGBT adults disagreed with the statement “You always feel safe and secure” compared to 11% of non-LGBT adults.
  • 42% of Latinx LGBT adults reported experiencing physical assault and threats, and 69% reported experiencing verbal assault or abuse at some point in their lives.

Social Support

  • The majority (64%) of Latinx LGB adults and 40% of Latinx transgender adults reported feeling connected to the LGBT community.
  • Less than half (43%) of Latinx LGBT adults reported feeling connected to the Latinx community.

This study is part of the Williams Institute’s LGBT Well-Being at the Intersection of Race series, which examines demographic characteristics and key indicators of well-being, including mental health, physical health, economic health, and social and cultural experiences, of different racial/ethnic groups in the U.S. The series also includes analyses by region.

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