The LGBTQI+ Economic and Financial Survey
The LGBTQI+ Economic and Financial (LEAF) Survey report analyzes findings from an original survey of 2,505 LGBTQI+ individuals and 503 non-LGBTQI+ individuals conducted Dec 2022-Jan 2023. Respondents were asked questions about their current financial status, financial priorities and concerns, their experiences with discrimination or exclusion, as well as their experiences and costs associated with family formation, gender-affirming healthcare, and legally changing their name or gender marker on identity documents, among other questions.
Some key findings of the report include:
- LGBTQI+ people reported losing the ability to rely financially on their families after coming out. While 73% of LGBTQI+ respondents said they could rely financially on their family before telling them about their sexual orientation, only 62% reported being able to rely financially on their family after coming out. The gap is even larger for transgender respondents.
- LGBTQI+ respondents reported far lower annual household incomes than adults nationwide. The majority (57%) of LGBTQI+ people reported a household income of less than $50,000 per year, compared to 36% of adults nationwide. In contrast, only 13% of LGBTQI respondents reported an income of $100,000 or more, compared to 34% of adults nationwide.
- Over half of LGBTQI+ people (51%) had less than $5,000 in savings, including 20% who had no savings at all. This is much lower than the median amount of savings among U.S. households overall ($25,700), according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances.
- Over half (53%) of all LGBTQI+ respondents had taken out a federal student loan to finance their education, compared to 31% of non-LGBTQI+ respondents. Among those that took federal student loans, only 23% of LGBTQI+ student loan borrowers in this survey have fully paid off their loans, compared to 39% of non-LGBTQI+ student loan borrowers in this survey.
- Four in ten parents (40%) reported having out-of-pocket legal costs related to family formation. Additionally, 43% of LGBTQI+ parents have spent $1,000 or more on out-of-pocket healthcare costs related to family formation, and nearly a third (32%) have spent more than $5,000.
- The vast majority of respondents who received gender affirming care (82%) reported spending some money out of pocket. Nearly half (46%) of people who have received some form of gender-affirming care have spent $5,000 or more out of pocket. One-third (33%) reported spending at least $10,000 out of pocket.
- LGBTQI+ people were more likely to report negative emotions about their finances than positive ones. Roughly twice as many LGBTQI+ respondents as non-LGBTQI+ respondents reported feeling anxious (46% vs. 23%), overwhelmed (41% vs. 22%), and depressed (32% vs. 16%) about their finances.
- More than one in ten LGBTQI+ people in the survey (11%) said they had faced discrimination specifically in banking or financial services.
Suggested Citation: Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research (CLEAR) and Movement Advancement Project (MAP). March 2023. The
LGBTQI+ Economic and Financial (LEAF) Survey: Understanding the Financial Lives of LGBTQI+ People in the United States.
San Francisco: CLEAR.
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