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Report: 1.4 million Latino adults identify as LGBT

A new report by the UCLA Williams Institute found that an estimated 1.4 million –  or 4.3 percent – of U.S. Hispanic adults consider themselves lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).   The report is based on Census data, which relies on self-identification through Census forms, as well as some Gallup polls.  Among the general population, recent Gallup surveys put the nationwide LGBT population at about 3.5 percent.

“While sometimes less visible in popular representations of LGBT people and families, Latinos make up a sizable portion of the LGBT population, and they tend to live in Latino, as opposed to LGBT, communities,” said co-author Gary J. Gates, Williams Distinguished Scholar.

Among the findings:

-About 146,000 Hispanics live in same-sex couple households.  Of these same-sex households, 29.1 percent  are raising children.

-Most LGBT Latinos live in areas with a high concentration of Hispanics, rather than a high concentration of the broader LGBT population.

-The top three states with LGBT Latinos are Texas, Nevada and California. These are followed by Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, New Jersey, Kansas, Florida and New York.

-Almost 1/3 of same-sex couples with a Latino householder live in New Mexico, California and Texas.  The other states with the highest number of LGBT Hispanics in a same-sex couple are Washington, DC, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, Colorado, New York and New Jersey.

“Notably, many LGBT Latinos live in states, such as Florida and Texas, with few legal protections for LGBT people and families,” said co-author Angeliki Kastanis, Public Policy Research Fellow at the Williams Institute.  “The study highlights that public debates in these states on whether to prohibit discrimination of the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or whether to recognize the relationships of same-sex couples, impacts members of both the Latino and LGBT communities.”

Other findings:

-In 63 percent of same-sex couples involving Latino/as, one of the partners is not Latino/a.

-In same-sex couples, 26 percent of Latino/a individuals have a college degree, versus 14 percent who are in different-sex couples.

-LGBT Latinos have a higher rate of unemployment (14 percent) compared to non-LGBT Latinos (11 percent). However, when only focusing on Latino/as in same-sex couples, the unemployment rate is similar to different-sex counterparts.

-Latino/a individuals in same-sex couples report higher median income than those in different-sex couples – $28,000 vs. $20,000.  Latina females in same-sex couples report much higher income ($27,000) than those in different-sex couples ($11,000).

- Latino/a individuals in same-sex couples are more likely to be citizens by birth than those in different-sex couples (66% vs. 42%).

-Latino/as in same-sex couples are much more likely to be born in the U.S. than LGBT Hispanics in different-sex couples (59% vs. 36%).

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