Public Comment

Survey of Income and Program Participation: Public Comment

September 2022

In August 2022, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued a request for comments on its ongoing Survey of Income and Program Participation.

  • Luis A. Vasquez
    Staff Attorney, Former
Public Comment


The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) is a vital source of information on a variety of subjects relevant to economic disparities, including employment and earnings, unemployment insurance, assets, education, household composition, health care coverage, and participation in government public benefits programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The SIPP has collected demographic data used to report information about same-sex married and cohabitating couples; however, data are not currently collected 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 the Department of Commerce expand its current measures to collect information about individual participants’ sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) on the SIPP. Scholars explain that the SIPP’s ability to measure participation in public programs—at both the individual and household level—makes it markedly unique among both government and private collections of data on measures of economic well-being and they provide research on the elevated rates of poverty and food insecurity among LGBT people, and particularly among LGBT people of color and transgender individuals. 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.

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Survey of Income and Program Participation: Public Comment