LGBT Latino/a Individuals and Latino/a Same-Sex Couples
By Angeliki Kastanis, Gary J. Gates
An estimated 1.4 million or 4.3 percent of Latino/a adults consider themselves lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) and 29 percent of Latino/a same-sex couples are raising children. The estimated 146,100 Latino/a individuals in same-sex couples tend to live in areas where there are higher proportions of Latinos/as. A third of Latino/a same-sex couples live in New Mexico, California, and Texas.
Nationally, Latino/a individuals in same-sex couples are faring better than Latinos/as in different-sex couples. Twenty-six percent of all Latinos/as in same-sex couples have completed a college degree or more, compared to 14 percent of Latinos/as in different-sex couples. But the data evidence that there are subgroups within the Latino/a LGBT community that are more socioeconomically vulnerable. Reported median household incomes for Latino/a same-sex couples raising children are 20% below the incomes of same-sex Latino/a couples without children. Latina/female same-sex couples also make close to $15,000 less than Latino/male same-sex couples and have lower rates of college completion. Rates of education also vary depending on individual ancestry. Individuals of Spanish or Cuban ancestry report higher levels of educational attainment, while Mexican, Salvadoran, and Puerto Rican individuals report lower rates of college completion.
Latino/a individuals in same-sex couples are also more likely to be born in the U.S. than Latino/a individuals in different sex couples (59% versus 37%) and more likely to be a U.S. citizen than their counterparts in different-sex couples (80% versus 62%). However, one in seven Latino/a same-sex couples are binational (include one citizen and one non-citizen). The top three countries of origin reported for Latino/a individuals in same-sex couples born outside the U.S. are Mexico, Puerto Rico and Cuba.