Many LGBT People in California Continue to Face Economic Challenges, New Study Shows

For Immediate Distribution
Jan. 21, 2016

Contact:
Lauren Jow, jow@law.ucla.edu, 310-206-0314

LOS ANGELES — While LGBT people in California appear to be doing better than LGBT people nationwide, some regions of the state report the same levels of socioeconomic vulnerability as in the Southern and Midwestern states, according to a new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.

The study, titled “The LGBT Divide in California,” explores disparities in the socioeconomic well-being of LGBT people throughout California, using data from the 2010 U.S. Census and the 2012-2014 Gallup Daily Tracking Survey.

A previous study released by the Williams Institute in 2014 showed that LGBT people in the Midwest, Mountain and Southern states are doing worse off than their counterparts elsewhere in the country. The current study shows as much disparity among LGBT Californians as throughout the United States.

“Identifying the most vulnerable sub-groups within the LGBT community in California could help pinpoint where supportive programs and policies are needed most,” said Angeliki Kastanis, policy analyst at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.

Key findings from the “LGBT Divide in California” include:

• In the Central/Southern Farm region of California, LGBT people have a lower college completion rate (28 percent) than in the Southern (33 percent) and Midwestern (29 percent) regions of the United States. The Central/Southern Farm region includes Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Monterey, San Benito, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, Stanislaus, Tulare counties.

• In the North and Mountain regions of California, the proportion of LGBT people earning less than $24,000 per year (34 percent) is similar to the rate in the Southern (33 percent) and Midwestern (35 percent) regions of the United States.

• LBT women in California are more likely to report an annual income of less than $24,000 (30 percent) than GBT men (23 percent).

• LGBT Latino/as in California are twice as likely as white LGBT Californians to report earning less than $24,000 annually. African American LGBTs in California are 1.5 times as likely.

• Even in urban centers where LGBT support is high, such as Los Angeles County, there are pockets that face greater socioeconomic disparities.

These regional patterns mirror those for non-LGBT people, which suggests that broader demographic factors also play an important role in LGBT vulnerability.

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