Disparities in economic well-being and health for transgender people compared to cisgender people persisted during the COVID-19 pandemic and have not improved over time, according to a new study from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.
Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, researchers examined the health and economic disparities for transgender people during the pandemic. Results showed that transgender people were more likely than cisgender people to face economic insecurity and unemployment and to lack health insurance during the pandemic.
They were also three times more likely than cisgender people to have symptoms of severe psychological distress (41% vs. 12%, respectively) and more than twice as likely to have anxiety (65% vs. 27%) and depression (58% vs. 22%).
“Health and economic disparities for transgender people pre-date the pandemic and have persisted throughout,” said lead author Jody L. Herman, Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute. “More data about transgender individuals from federal surveys, like the Household Pulse Survey, are needed to better understand and address their needs.”
- Over 80% of transgender people in the Household Pulse Survey were under the age of 40, compared to just over a third of cisgender people.
- Transgender and cisgender people were similar in proportions reporting their race as white (64% vs. 63%). However, a higher percentage of transgender people were Latinx or Hispanic (22% vs. 17%) and multiracial (7% vs. 4%). A higher percentage of cisgender people than transgender people were Black (11% vs. 6%) and Asian (6% vs. 2%).
- Half of transgender people (50%) had difficulty with household expenses compared to one-third (32%) of cisgender people.
- Transgender people (7%) were more likely than cisgender people (5%) to say that they were unable to pay their energy bills in full each month.
- More transgender people (13%) were not covered by health insurance, compared to cisgender people (8%).
- Among those in the workforce, a higher percentage of transgender people (8%) had not worked in the seven days prior to the survey compared to cisgender people (5%).
- More transgender workers teleworked or worked from home than cisgender people (42% vs. 32%).
- Transgender people (88%) were more likely than cisgender people (84%) to have had one or more doses of a COVID vaccine.
- Transgender people were less concerned about vaccine side effects (41% vs. 55%) and more concerned about the cost of the vaccine (8% vs. 2%) compared to cisgender people.
- Among those who had not been vaccinated and do not plan to, transgender people (12%) were six times more likely than cisgender people (2%) to say it was because it was hard for them to get the COVID vaccine.