The Information Gap

Qualitatively, it is redundant to observe LGBTQ people have lived experiences that are distinctive from their het/cis peers. But, few generalizable studies or government statistics provide a quantitative view into how: i.e., unique demographics and well-being data for LGBT communities in the U.S., and worldwide.

In 2016, the World Bank reported that “gaps in research and data on LGBTI experiences persist in every country, blocking progress toward inclusion and the realization of human rights for all.”[i]

The report authors note several areas important for additional statistical study:

  • Accurate size estimates of the LGBTQ population and measures of public opinion about LGBTQ people.
  • Links between LGBTQ inclusion and macroeconomic dev., -and-
  • Understanding the multiple identities LGBTQ people hold (e.g., race, ethnicity, religion, age).[ii]

In the United States

In the U.S., for one, disambiguated data collection about LGBTQ Americans in government data—e.g., in the Census,[iii] American Community Survey,[iv] Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking[v]—is needed to create understanding of LGBTQ demographics and well-being.

“There is, no doubt, prejudice against LGBT applicants [in lending]. But there’s not a lot of data to show how much.”

Additionally, nondiscrimination enforcement shall require data collection akin to present fair lending data-collection requirements in mortgages,[vi] small business lending,[vii] for other frequently under-served minority groups classes. According to the Mark Fogarty at the American Banker,“There is, no doubt, prejudice against LGBT applicants. But there’s not a lot of data to show how much.”-American Banker[viii]


[i] Badgett and Crehan, Investing in a Research Revolution for LGBTI Inclusion, World Bank 2 (November 2016)

[ii] Id. at 2-3

[iii] The census does not presently include any sexual-orientation or gender identity data from respondents. Nico Lang,  Inside the Battle to Get LGBTQ Americans Counted in the Census, Daily Beast (July 1, 2019)

[iv] In some previous years of collection, the ACS has collected data regarding same-sex couples who are married or in domestic partnerships. However, the Trump Administration has fought against the collection of this data in future ACS surveys. Hansi Lo Wang, Census Bureau Caught In Political Mess Over LGBT Data, NPR (July 18, 2017)

[v] Used in producing the Federal Reserve’s annual “Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households” See, e.g. Federal Reserve, Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2018, Federal Reserve 1 (May 2019)

[vi] Regulation C implementing the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) requires financial institutions to collect, report, and disclose certain information about mortgage lending activity with regard to sex, race, age, and other protected categories. See, 12 U.S.C. 2801-2810; 12 CFR 1003.

[vii] Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) amends the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) to require financial institutions to report information concerning credit applications made by women-owned, minority-owned, and small businesses See 15 U.S.C. 1691c-2; 12 CFR 1002

[viii] Mark Fogarty, HMDA Data Offers Clues on Discrimination Against Gays, American Banker (June 09 2014)