A new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the United States are far more likely to be poor than straight people, with lesbian and bisexual women the worst off.
Lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans were found to be less likely than their heterosexual counterparts to own their own home, with black and Hispanic lesbian and bisexual women the least likely to be homeowners.
The study also found that lesbian and bisexual women were also less likely to graduate from college than straight women and earn less money. While reporting higher rates of school harassment, gay and bisexual men were found to be more likely to have a college education than straight men, but they were also found to earn less and reported having experienced more financial difficulty than their heterosexuals counterparts.
Additionally, the study found that lesbian and bisexual women were more likely to live on the poverty line with many receiving welfare payments or food stamps and reported feeling that they had a lower social status than straight people. The study points towards ongoing issues of wage discrimination in the LGB community.
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. Authors of the study suggest that the U.S. could reduce the inequality lesbian and bisexual women face by “promoting the achievement of sexual minority girls and young women.”
The study follows a report released in April found that LGB people were more likely to suffer from physical and mental health issues. Socioeconomic status is considered to be fundamentally important to a person’s health, however there has been limited research into how this affects LGB people.
The study followed 14,000 young people — LGB and straight — who were in seventh through 12th grades in 1994 through 2008 and 2009.