Study finds LGBT adults experience food insecurity and participate in SNAP at higher levels than non-LGBT adults

For Immediate Distribution
July 18, 2016

Contact:
The Williams Institute, williamsinstitute@law.ucla.edu, (310) 267-4382

More than 1 in 4 LGBT adults (27%) experienced a time in the last year when they did not have enough money for the food that they or their families needed.

LOS ANGELES — LGBT adults and adults in same-sex couples often experience food insecurity and participate in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at higher rates than non-LGBT adults and adults in different-sex couples, according to a new study by researchers at The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. Using data from four representative, population-based surveys, the authors find that some groups of LGBT adults – women, certain racial and ethnic minorities, unmarried adults, and adults with children in the home – are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity.

“Contrary to the stereotype that LGBT people are affluent, many do not have the resources to access the food that they and their families need,” said Taylor Brown, one of the authors of the study. “Policy makers and anti-hunger organizations need to include LGBT people when considering issues of poverty, homelessness, and hunger.”

The study, titled “Food Insecurity and SNAP Participation in the LGBT Community,” by Taylor N. T. Brown, Adam P. Romero, and Gary J. Gates, updates previous findings and provides further evidence of the disparities experienced by LGBT people.

Key findings from the study include:

• More than 1 in 4 LGBT adults (27%) – approximately 2.2 million people – experienced a time in the last year when they did not have enough money for the food that they or their families needed, compared to 17% of non-LGBT adults.

• More than 1 in 4 LGB adults aged 18-44 (27%) participated in SNAP, compared to 20% of non-LGB adults in the same age range.

• Food insecurity is not distributed evenly in the LGBT community. Among LGBT people, certain racial and ethnic minorities (42% among African-Americans, 33% among Hispanics, and 32% among American Indians and Alaskan Natives), women (31%), unmarried individuals (30%), and those raising children (33%) are particularly likely to report not having enough money for the food that they or their families needed at some point in the last year.

• LGBT adults are 1.62 times more likely than non-LGBT adults, on average, to report not having enough money for the food that they or their families needed at some point in the last year.

• Adults in same-sex couples are 1.58 times more likely than different-sex couples to have participated in SNAP in the past year.

This study was made possible with a grant from the ConAgra Foods Foundation.

Click here for the full report.