At the federal level and in most states, non-discrimination statutes do not expressly enumerate sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics. Twenty-three states and Washington, D.C. expressly enumerate either or both of these characteristics in their non-discrimination statutes, although not necessarily in all settings. This research brief estimates the number of LGBT people who are protected by such statutes in the areas of employment, education, public accommodations, housing, and credit—and the number who are not.
- An estimated 8.1 million LGBT workers age 16 and older live in the United States. Nearly half of these workers—3.9 million people—live in states without statutory protections against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment.
- There are over 3.5 million LGBT students age 15 and older in the U.S. About 2 million live in states without statutory protections against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in education.
- There are an estimated 13 million LGBT people age 13 and older in the U.S. Approximately 6.5 million live in states that do not statutorily prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in public accommodations.
- There are an estimated 11 million LGBT adults in the U.S. Over 5.4 million live in states without statutory protections against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in housing and 7.7 million lack such protections in credit.
Our estimates are conservative in that state statutes also protect LGBT children and younger youth; however, due to limited knowledge about the size of these groups in the population, we could not include them in our calculations.