An estimated 1,274,500 LGBT foreign-born adults live in the U.S., including 289,700 who are undocumented and 984,800 who are documented, according to a new report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.
In addition, an estimated 169,400 foreign-born individuals (naturalized citizens and non-citizens) are part of a same-sex couple. An estimated 86,500 (51%) are naturalized citizens, and 82,900 (49%) are not U.S. citizens.
Using data from a variety of sources, researchers examined the demographics and characteristics of LGBT immigrants and immigrants in same-sex couples in the U.S. Findings show that LGBT immigrants represent approximately 3% of adult immigrants in the U.S. and are more often male and younger.
Among undocumented LGBT adults, approximately three-quarters (76%) are Latino/a, 14% are Asian or Pacific Islander, 7% are white, and 3% are Black.
“LGBT immigrants, particularly undocumented persons, are likely to be experiencing heightened vulnerability to the effects of the pandemic,” said senior author Kerith J. Conron, the Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar and Research Director at the Williams Institute. “Service organizations that focus on immigrants and LGBT people, particularly in states with large immigrant populations, should work in concert to conduct outreach and to serve this community.”
Undocumented LGBT Immigrants
- Almost half (48%) of LGBT undocumented immigrants are between the ages of 18 and 29, compared to 22% of undocumented immigrants overall.
- 62% of LGBT undocumented immigrants are male compared to 54% of all adult undocumented immigrants and 42% of all LGBT adults in the U.S.
- An estimated 209,500 undocumented LGBT adults were born in 10 Latin American countries, including 136,600 from Mexico and 48,300 from the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras).
- An estimated 35,500 undocumented LGBT adults are from five countries in Asia: India, China, the Philippines, Korea, and Vietnam.
Documented LGBT Immigrants
- 40% of LGBT documented immigrants are between the ages of 18 and 29, compared to 13% of documented immigrants overall.
- 55% of LGBT documented immigrants are male compared to 47% of all adult documented immigrants and 42% of all LGBT adults in the U.S.
- 39% of documented LGBT adults are Latino/a, 32% are Asian and Pacific Islander, 20% are White, and 6% are Black—comparable to the racial/ethnic composition of the overall documented adult immigrant population.
Same-Sex Couples with a Foreign-Born Partner or Spouse
- An estimated 128,500 same-sex couples include at least one foreign-born partner or spouse. Approximately 94,400 of the couples are binational, where one member is a native-born U.S. citizen and the other is either a naturalized citizen or a non-citizen.
- An estimated 18,200 same-sex couples with at least one foreign-born partner or spouse are raising an estimated 31,000 children under the age of 18.
- Dual non-citizens and dual naturalized citizen same-sex couples are the most likely to be raising children under age 18 (24% and 21%, respectively).
The Pew Research Center estimates that there are 44 million foreign-born immigrants living in the U.S., including approximately 10 million who are undocumented and 33 million who are documented.