The Income & Savings Gap

Income & Savings Gap

Discrimination in the workplace leaves LGBTQ consumers with smaller earnings compared to het/cis peers. Smaller earnings leaves less money for LGBTQ consumers to manage expenses, create savings, and buy homes and assets, or save for their retirement and golden years.


Workplace bias creates obstacles to employment for LGBTQ workers: Resumes for gay and lesbian workers receive fewer callbacks than resumes for general applicants; 1-in-10 of LGBTQ workers report discrimination in hiring, promotion, and salary decisions.

Unfair treatment creates difficulties in maintaining employment: HRC reports that 1-in-10 LGBTQ workers in 2018 had left a previous employer because of harassment; Discriminatory obstacles contribute to higher underemployment: Harvard’s Chan School of Medicine finds that LGBTQ people are twice as likely to be unemployed as het/cis peers.


Employment and Income gaps help explain why—despite higher educational attainment on-average—LGBTQ workers earn less than het/cis peers.

In recent reporting:

A 2019 report from the Williams Institute found 1-in-5 LGBTQ people in the United States live in poverty, vs. 1-i­n-10 (16%) of het/cis peers.

Savings & Assets

According to marketing studies, LGBTQ people spend the same portion of their income on discretionary items as het/cis peers. Despite similar purchasing patterns, more LGBTQ consumers report difficulty maintaining savings, 44% vs. 38%.

LGBTQ consumers are less likely to have a savings account (40% of vs.47%) than the general population, and also less likely to own investments such as stocks (18% vs. 23%) or mutual funds (15% vs. 21%).


The inability to accumulate savings negatively affects LGBTQ financial security and homeownership.  In 2017, Freddie Mac reported that LGBTQ consumers were 75% as likely to be homeowners (49%) than to the general population (64.3%). 7-in-10 LGBTQ renters in the report identified insufficient down-payment savings as a critical obstacle that has prevented them from buying a home.


Lack of ability to create savings also leaves LGBTQ consumers less prepared for retirement. LGBTQ consumers are less likely to have employer retirement plans (35% LGBTQ vs. 40% gen. pop.) and much less likely have Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) (18% vs. 30%).

A lack of retirement savings leaves LGBTQ elders financially insecure and with less ability to care for themselves. Half of LGBTQ seniors (51%) are concerned about having enough money to live on during retirement (vs. 36% het/cis peers), and 42% expect to outlive the amount they have saved (vs. 25%).