New Report: Estimated 1.4 Million Latino/a Adults in the U.S. Identify as LGBT

For Immediate Distribution
October 2, 2013

Laura Rodriguez,, (310) 956-2425
Brenda Arredondo, (202) 587-4945

Nearly 60% live in California, Florida, New York & Texas

LOS ANGELES – An estimated 1.4 million (4.3%) of Latino/a adults consider themselves lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) and 29 percent of Latino/a same-sex couples are raising children according to a new report released by UCLA Williams Institute Scholars Angeliki Kastanis, Public Policy Research Fellow, and Gary J. Gates, Williams Distinguished Scholar. The study, “LGBT Latino/a Individuals and Latino/a Same-Sex Couples,” includes socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of Latino/a LGBT individuals and Latino/a same-sex couples in the U.S.

“While sometimes less visible in popular representations of LGBT people and families, Latinos make up a sizable portion of the LGBT population, and they tend to live in Latino, as opposed to LGBT, communities,” commented Gates.

Currently, there are an estimated 1,419,200 LGBT Latino/a adults living in the U.S. The estimated 146,100 Latino/a individuals in same-sex couples tend to live in areas where there are higher proportions of Latinos/as. For example, a third of Latino/a same-sex couples live in New Mexico, California, and Texas.

“Notably, many LGBT Latinos live in states, such as Florida and Texas, with few legal protections for LGBT people and families,” noted Kastanis. “The study highlights that public debates in these states on whether to prohibit discrimination of the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or whether to recognize the relationships of same-sex couples, impact members of both the Latino and LGBT communities.”

In 63% of same-sex couples with a Latino/a partner, the other partner is not Latino/a. This is the case for only 32% of different-sex couples.

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. They are also more likely to be employed and to have health insurance.

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. Further, Latina/female same-sex couples make almost $15,000 less than Latino/male same-sex couples and have lower rates of college completion. And, while Latino/a individuals in same-sex couples have higher employment rates than Latinos/as in different-sex couples, LGBT Latino/a individuals, both single and coupled, indicate that they are more likely to be unemployed than non-LGBT Latino/a adults (14 percent versus 11 percent).

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). Furthermore, one in five Latino/a same-sex couples raising children have two non-citizen partners. 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.

The report considers the characteristics of adults who identify as LGBT using the Gallup Daily tracking survey. Data from the 2008-2010 American Community Survey are used to consider characteristics of both married and unmarried same-sex couples. U.S. Census 2010 data are used to report the number of same-sex couples in the U.S. All surveys include respondents who identify as Latino/a or Hispanic when asked to describe their race.

Click here for the full report.

Comunicado de prensa en español.

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