LOS ANGELES An estimated 1,018,700 ( 3.7 percent ) of African-American adults consider themselves lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender ( LGBT ) and 34 percent of African-American same-sex couples are raising children, according to a new report released by UCLA Williams Institute Scholars Angeliki Kastanis, Public Policy Research Fellow, and Gary J. Gates, Distinguished Scholar. The study, "LGBT African-American Individuals and African-American Same-Sex Couples," includes socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of African-American LGBT individuals and African-American same-sex couples in the U.S.
Currently, the estimated 84,000 African-American individuals in same-sex couples tend to live in areas where there are higher proportions of African-Americans. For example, a quarter of African-American same-sex couples live in Georgia, New York, North Carolina, and Maryland.
The report finds overall higher unemployment rates ( 15 percent v. 12 percent ) and lower proportions with a college degree ( 23 percent v. 26 percent ) among LGBT African-Americans, when compared to their non-LGBT counterparts. However, these disadvantages are not present among African-Americans in same-sex couples. 25 percent of African-Americans in same-sex couples have completed a college degree, compared to 22 percent of African-Americans in different-sex couples. In addition, 71 percent of African-Americans in same-sex couples are employed compared to 68 percent of their counterparts in different-sex couples.
LGBT African-Americans are also less likely than their non-LGBT counterparts to have health insurance. Study co-author Gates notes, "Given their lower levels of health insurance coverage and the evidence of broader economic disadvantage, the opportunity for less expensive health care resulting from the Affordable Care Act may be particularly attractive for LGBT African-Americans."
Nationally, how African-American same-sex couples fare compared to their different-sex counterparts varies significantly depending on the gender of the couple and whether the couple is raising children. For example, female African-American same-sex couples, which comprise 58 percent of all African-American same-sex couples, earn over $20,000 less than male African-American same-sex couples. Further, African-American same-sex couples raising children, report household median incomes $15,000 lower than comparable African-American different-sex couples ( $47,300 vs. $63,020 ).
"LGBT African-American parents and their children evidence significant economic disadvantage and many live in states without LGBT anti-discrimination laws or marriage equality. Establishing these important legal protections could really help these families," observes study co-author Angeliki Kastanis.
Another significant finding in the report is that LGBT African-American females and African-American females in same-sex couples are three times more likely to report military service than their non-LGBT counterparts. Notably, almost one in ten African-American females in same-sex couples report serving in the military. While African-American males in same-sex couples are less likely to serve in the military than those in different-sex couples ( 13 percent versus 25 percent ), the rate of reported military service for African-American males in same-sex couples is still about one in seven individuals.
The report considers the characteristics of adults who identify as LGBT using the Gallup Daily tracking survey. Data from the 2008-2010 American Community Survey are used to consider characteristics of both married and unmarried same-sex couples. U.S. Census 2010 data are used to report the number of same-sex couples in the U.S. All surveys include respondents who identify as African-American ( non-Hispanic ) when asked to describe their race.
The full report is available here: williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Census-AFAMER-Oct-2013.pdf .