Follow us on Twitter @AJCBiz
A new study on the financial health of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community finds that, as a group and compared with the general U.S. population, it has higher median and household incomes, better pay parity between men and women, higher employment and more spending money.
The study, “The LGBT Financial Experience,”was conducted by Prudential, which surveyed 1,401 LGBT individuals across the country aged 25 to 68 in August.
Prudential, which along with other financial services providers clearly sees the LGBT community as a growing market, says it conducted the “baseline study” to gauge the group’s financial prowess amid the country’s economic challenges.
“The research findings are eye opening and dispel common perceptions. While we found people to be largely optimistic about the future, the LGBT community, like most Americans, was affected by the recession and is very concerned about being able to retire,” the study says.
The LGBT community is in much better financial shape than the general population. Here are a few of the study’s highlights:
* While gay men earn more than lesbians ($49,900 versus $43,500 median income), which reflects what’s happening in the general population, the pay disparity isn’t the same. Among those employed full-time, lesbians earn 84 percent of what gay men earn, compared with the 77 percent female-to-male ratio among the total population.
* The median household income for the LGBT community is $61,500, compared with $50,000 for the general population. Although gay men report earning more than lesbians individually, lesbian households have higher income ($63,700 vs. $62,300) because they are more likely to have dual incomes.
* Seven percent define themselves as “unemployed and looking for work, compared with the U.S. unemployment rate of 7.9 percent. Lesbians have the lowest unemployment rate at 5 percent and transgender people have the highest at 12 percent.
* The study also found that the LGBT community on average carried about $4,000 less in debt and had $6,000 more in household savings.
* Because many dual households were without children, the LGBT community also had a lot of extra money to spend on dining out, entertainment and travel. About 40 percent of gay men and 25 percent of lesbians spend more than $500 a month on such discretionary items.
A CNN Money report on the study points out that studies conducted by the Census Bureau and Experian, the credit reporting agency, also have come up with similar conclusions but a Gallup poll of more than 120,000 adults in the summer found that LGBT individuals “tend to have lower incomes and to be less educated than the general population.”