Report

Latinx LGBT Adults in the US

LGBT well-being at the intersection of race
September 2021

This report analyzes several data sources to provide information on adults who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino/a and LGBT in the U.S. and by region. It focuses on demographic characteristics and several key domains of well-being, including mental health, physical health, economic health, and social and cultural experiences.

AUTHORS
Highlights
The Latinx LGBT adult population is younger and more likely to have a college education than non-LGBT Latinx adults.
Latinx LGBT adults are more likely to be unemployed and to experience food insecurity than non-LGBT Latinx adults.
Latinx LGBT adults face disparities in mental and physical health such as depression, asthma, and chronic health conditions.
Data Points
2.3M
Latinx LGBT adults live in the US
65%
of Latinx LGBT adults are under age 35
45%
of Latinx non-LGBT adults are under 35
44%
of Latinx LGBT adults are raising children
57%
of Latinx non-LGBT adults are raising children
22%
of Latinx LGBT adults have a college education
17%
of Latinx non-LGBT adults have a college education
10%
of Latinx LGBT adults are unemployed
8%
of Latinx non-LGBT adults are unemployed
32%
of Latinx LGBT adults experience food insecurity
25%
of Latinx non-LGBT adults are food insecure
30%
of Latinx LGBT adults have been diagnosed with depression
42%
of Latinx LGBT adults have experienced physical assault and threats
69%
have experienced verbal assault or abuse
43%
of Latinx LGBT adults feel connected to the Latinx community
Report

More than 11.3 million LGBT adults live in the U.S.1 They are a part of every community throughout the country, and they are diverse in terms of personal characteristics, socioeconomic outcomes, health status, and lived experiences. While LGBT people are similar to their non-LGBT counterparts in many ways, they also show differences that illuminate their unique needs and experiences related to sexual orientation and gender identity. 

About 40% of LGBT adults are people of color, including 20% who identify as Latinx.2 In this report, we analyze data from several sources to provide information about adults who self-identify as Latinx and LGBT. We present an overview of their demographic characteristics and focus on several key domains of well-being, including mental health, physical health, economic health, and social and cultural experiences. In addition, we compare Latinx LGBT and non-LGBT adults across these indicators in order to explore differences related to sexual orientation and gender identity among Latinx Americans. For several key indicators, we also compare Latinx LGBT and non-LGBT women with Latinx LGBT and non-LGBT men in order to explore differences related to gender. In addition, we analyze outcomes for Latinx LGBT subgroups such as Mexican, Central American, and South American LGBT people in California. 

This report is part of a larger series, LGBT Well-Being at the Intersection of Race, which provides the same information for each racial/ethnic minority group in the United States. A final comparative report examines differences across racial groups among LGBT people. 

Key Findings

Demographic Characteristics 

  • An estimated 2,253,000 U.S. adults self-identify as Latinx and LGBT. Among all Latinx adults, 5.6% identify as LGBT. 
  • Latinx LGBT adults in the U.S. are more likely to live in the West than in other regions: 38% of Latinx LGBT adults in the country live in the West, compared to 33% in the South, 18% in the Northeast, and 10% in the Midwest. 
  • The Latinx LGBT adult population is younger than the population of Latinx non-LGBT adults. Sixty-five percent of Latinx LGBT adults are under age 35, compared to 45% of non-LGBT adults.
  • Just over half (52%) of LGBT Latinx adults are women, and 48% are men.
  • Among Latinx adults ages 25 and older, more LGBT than non-LGBT adults have a college education: 22% of Latinx LGBT adults have a college education, compared to 17% of Latinx non-LGBT adults.
  • Overall, Latinx LGBT adults have served in the military at a rate similar to that for Latinx non- LGBT adults. However, when disaggregated by gender, a lower proportion of Latinx LGBT men (8%) served in the military compared to non-LGBT men (10%), but a higher proportion of Latinx LGBT women (3%) served in the military compared with non-LGBT women (2%).
  • Although Latinx LGBT adults are more likely to report no religious affiliation than Latinx non-LGBT adults, many Latinx LGBT adults are religious. Thirty-eight percent of Latinx LGBT adults are Roman Catholic, 7% are Protestant, 2% are Muslim, and 26% have other religious affiliations.
  • The vast majority of Latinx LGBT adults (91%) and Latinx non-LGBT adults (90%) live in urban areas.
  • Latinx LGBT adults are more likely to live alone than non-LGBT adults: 15% of Latinx LGBT adults live alone, compared to 10% of Latinx non-LGBT adults.
  • Among those who are married or cohabitating, about 70% of Latinx LGBT adults have a different-sex partner. Latinx LGBT women (73%) are more likely to have a different-sex partner than Latinx LGBT men (57%).
  • Fewer Latinx LGBT adults (44%) than non-LGBT adults (57%) are raising children. 

Note: * indicates that estimates between LGBT and non-LGBT adults are statistically different. 

  • In California, LGBT Latinx adults are more likely to be U.S.-born citizens than non-LGBT adults—71% of LGB and 65% of Transgender Latinx adults compared to approximately 49% of non-LGBT adults. 

Economic Characteristics 

  • Many Latinx adults experience economic insecurity. 
  • Nearly 40% of Latinx LGBT adults (37%) and non-LGBT adults (39%) live with a household income below $24,000 per year. 
  • Latinx LGBT adults are more likely to be unemployed (10% vs. 8%) and to experience food insecurity (32% vs. 25%) than Latinx non-LGBT adults. 
  • Latinx LGBT adults are less likely to live in low-income households—that is, below 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL)—than Latinx non-LGBT adults. 

Note: * indicates that estimates between LGBT and non-LGBT adults are statistically different. 

Mental and Physical Health 

  • Fewer Latinx LGBT adults report fair or poor health than Latinx non-LGBT adults: 29% of Latinx LGBT adults and 31% of non-LGBT adults report their health as fair or poor. 
  • Nearly one-third (30%) of Latinx LGBT adults have been diagnosed with depression, compared to 16% of Latinx non-LGBT adults. Latinx LGBT women have the highest rates of depression (35%) compared with non-LGBT women (20%) and both groups of men. 

Note: * indicates that estimates between LGBT and non-LGBT adults are statistically different. 

  • Latinx LGBT adults are more likely to engage in high-risk health behaviors than Latinx non- LGBT adults. Among Latinx LGBT adults, 28% report current smoking and 8% report heavy drinking, compared to 16% and 3% of non-LGBT adults, respectively. 
  • More Latinx LGBT adults than non-LGBT adults report having mild or high disability, defined by the number of days that they experienced limitations due to poor health in the prior month. Among Latinx adults, 26% reported experiencing mild disability, defined as experiencing limitations because of poor health for 1-14 days in the past month; 11% reported high disability, defined as experiencing limitations because of poor health for 15-30 days in the past month. By comparison, 20% of Latinx non-LGBT adults reported mild disability, and 7% reported high disability. 
  • Compared to Latinx non-LGBT adults, Latinx LGBT adults had greater odds of being diagnosed with several serious health conditions, including asthma, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. These disparities exist for both Latinx LGBT men and women compared to non-LGBT men and women, with the exception of diabetes and high cholesterol among Latinx women. 

Access to Health Care 

  • Latinx LGBT adults are more likely to have health insurance than Latinx non-LGBT adults: 28% of Latinx LGBT adults are uninsured, compared to 33% of Latinx non-LGBT adults. 
  • Latinx LGBT adults (12%) are more likely to have Medicaid as their primary insurance compared to Latinx non-LGBT adults (9%). Among Latinx women, 15% of LGBT women and 12% of non-LGBT women are enrolled in Medicaid. 
  • Latinx LGBT parents are more likely to be enrolled in Medicaid than Latinx non-LGBT adults: Among adults raising children, 11% of Latinx LGBT adults are enrolled in Medicaid, compared to 9% of Latinx non-LGBT adults. 
  • Similar proportions of Latinx LGBT adults (60%) and Latinx non-LGBT adults (58%) have a personal doctor. 

Discrimination and Stressful Events 

  • Latinx LGBT adults are more likely than Latinx non-LGBT adults to say they feel unsafe: 17% of Latinx LGBT adults said that they disagreed with the statement “You always feel safe and secure,” compared to 11% of Latinx non-LGBT adults. 
  • Many Latinx LGBT adults reported experiences of discrimination and victimization. For example, 74% of Latinx LGBT adults reported having experienced everyday discrimination in the prior year (such as being treated with less courtesy than other people), 42% reported experiencing physical or sexual assault at some point as an adult, and 69% reported experiencing verbal assault or abuse at some point as an adult. Similar percentages of Latinx non-LGBT adults report experiencing discrimination and violence. 
  • Many Latinx LGBT adults also reported financial and job-related stress. For example, 62% reported not having had enough money to make ends meet in the prior year, 17% reported being fired or laid off in the prior year, and 30% reported experiencing a major financial crisis in the prior year. Latinx non-LGBT adults reported similar rates of financial and job-related stress. 

Resiliency

  • The majority (64%) of Latinx LGB adults and 40% of Latinx transgender adults reported feeling connected to the LGBT community. 
  • Less than half (43%) of Latinx LGBT adults reported feeling connected to the Latinx community. 
  • About two-thirds (68%) of Latinx LGBT adults reported feeling supported through their social circles. 

In addition to presenting national data, we compared Latinx LGBT and non-LGBT adults on several key outcomes by region in the U.S.: West, Northeast, South, and the Midwest. Overall, patterns identified within each region reflect what we found across the U.S. Full details on the regional analyses can be found on page 34 of this report.

Download the full report

Latinx LGBT Adults in the US

Conron, K.J., Goldberg, S.K. (2020). Adult LGBT Population in the United States. The Williams Institute, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA. 

LGBT Demographic Data Interactive. (January 2019). Los Angeles, CA: The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law.