LOS ANGELES – The popular myth that lesbians and gay men are among the affluent elite may be just that — a myth. That’s according to a new report from UCLA’s Williams Institute, which studies gay and lesbian issues.
The report, which the institute claims is the first of its kind, indicates lesbian couples are more likely than their heterosexual, married counterparts to live in poverty. In addition, children of same-sex couples are more than twice as likely to be poor as children in traditional families, the study suggested.
The institute’s analysis employed U.S. Census data from 2000 along with the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth and the 2003 and 2005 California Health Interview surveys. All asked questions about sexual orientation. Although the data were adjusted for differences in race, education and geographical region, the analysis does not reflect effects from the current economic recession.
Together, the data indicate “there are clearly many poor lesbian, gay and bisexual people,” co-author Lee Badgett told USA Today. “That alone is an important finding.”
Badgett said the study did not include single gays and lesbians because most surveys do not record sexual orientation unless a respondent volunteers information about living with a same-sex partner.
Among Badgett’s conclusions: Same-sex partners and their children are more likely to be poor because they lack safety nets like coverage under a spouse’s health insurance and Social Security survivor benefits.