Higher rates of food insecurity have been observed among LGBT as compared to non-LGBT people. However little research has focused exclusively on food access for transgender people. This study aims to fill this gap and provides information about current experiences of food insufficiency—defined as sometimes or often not having enough to eat in the last 7 days—in a nationally representative household sample of transgender and cisgender people. Using data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau on the Household Pulse Survey, this study found that food insufficiency was almost two and a half times as common among transgender as cisgender people (19.9% vs. 8.3%).
Food insufficiency was much more common among some groups than others. Nearly five times as many transgender people of color as White cisgender people (28.2% vs 6.0%) experienced food insufficiency at some point during the summer or early fall of 2021. Far more transgender adults with a bachelor’s degree or more experienced food insufficiency than cisgender adults with the same educational attainment (15.7% vs 2.4%, respectively).
Household Pulse Survey data were further analyzed to provide information about current socioeconomic status, food resource utilization (e.g., SNAP, charitable food resources), and self-reported reasons for insufficient food among transgender adults and their cisgender counterparts. Only 28.7% of income-eligible transgender people were enrolled in SNAP as compared to 38.5% of income-eligible cisgender peers. In addition, over twice as many transgender people as cisgender people reported other barriers to accessing food, including that they could not get out to buy food (27.7% and 12.3%, respectively). Details about study methods, as well as tables, are included in the Appendix.