The U.S. Census Bureau developed a methodology to turn the long-form questionnaire of the U.S. decennial census into separate ongoing monthly surveys known as the American Community Survey (ACS) and the Puerto Rico Community Survey (PRCS). The ACS and PRCS are vital sources of information about employment and earnings, housing conditions and expenses, education, citizenship, family composition, veteran status, disability, and insurance coverage among people in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. Currently, both surveys collect demographic data about same-sex married and cohabitating couples; however, they do not currently collect data that could be used to identify LGBT individuals who are not in such partnerships.
Adding measures of LGBT identity would provide demographic and socioeconomic information for nearly 11 million LGBT people in the U.S. who are not currently living in same-sex married or cohabitating couple households.
The comment recommends that ACS and PRCS expand their current measures to collect information about individual participants’ sexual orientation and gender identity on both surveys. Scholars note that having nationally representative data on the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of LGBT people would provide information about LGBT communities and help inform federal spending on programs and initiatives that specifically meet the needs of LGBT people in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. In particular, the data would provide much-needed information about LGBT people in Puerto Rico, where there is little population-based research about LGBT people currently. In addition, they provide support for collecting SOGI data in accordance with 2022 recommendations from an ad hoc panel of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine and provide guidance to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of respondents’ information.