This report describes characteristics of LGBT adults in California, a population of nearly 1.7 million, in relation to their vulnerability to illness and other health consequences stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. A separate report examines the vulnerability to economic disruption experienced by LGBT Californians due to efforts to contain COVID-19.Data were extracted from the 2015-2018 California Health Interview Survey through the AskCHIS platform. Thus, information reported here does not reflect recent changes in health related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Key findings about LGBT adults in California include the following.
In the four years covered by the survey:
- 361,000 had fair or poor health.
- 134,000 did not have health insurance.
- 231,000 had problems paying for their own or a family member’s medical bill.
- 150,000 had delayed or forgone needed medical care because of cost, lack of insurance, or another insurance-related reason.
- Many LGBT adult Californians had health conditions which elevate their risk for serious illness from COVID-19.
- More than 114,000 GBT adults live with HIV.,
- 216,000 LGBT adult Californians had asthma.
- 114,000 had diabetes.
- 81,000 had heart disease.
- 304,000 were current smokers.
- 262,000 lived alone.
- Over 500,000 had a history of suicidal ideation.
Efforts to monitor the health impact of COVID-19 on Californians must include a focus on vulnerable populations, including LGBT adults, to ensure that interventions are targeted to meet the particular needs of different communities.