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September, 2014

Financial inequality plagues LGBT community

Los Angeles--A new study released by the Williams Institute of the University of California Los Angeles School of Law analyzing the results of the 2014 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index poll showed a marked difference in financial and physical well-being between heterosexual, cisgendered and LGBT adults, with women showing a larger gap.

The poll used interviews with almost 3,000 LGBT adults and over 81,000 with non-LGBT people in the first six months of the year. It quantifies people’s financial and physical health on a scale of 1-100 and divides them into three categories: Thriving, struggling and suffering.

The five categories on which people are ranked are financial, physical, social, community and purpose well-being.

“Despite evidence of decreasing social stigma directed toward the LGBT community in the U.S., LGBT Americans - particularly LGBT women - show a wide range of well-being disparities compared with their non-LGBT counterparts,” writes study author Gary J. Gates. “In measures of physical health, financial security, sense of purpose, social life, and community attachment, data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index reveal that LGBT adults experience a wide range of well-being challenges.”

In the overall index, adults in general showed a four percent difference, with LGBT adults scoring 58 and non-LGBT adults scoring 62, although for men only, it was 59 and 61, respectively, and for women it s was 57 and 63, a difference of six.

However, for financial well-being, there was a ten point gap for adults, eight points for men and 12 points for women. Physical well-being actually showed a smaller gap for men than for the combined adult population, just two points compared to seven points, but women had a 12-point gap. For social well-being, the gap was six points across the board.

In terms of health disparities, there is a six-year study currently underway by the National Institutes of Health examining the disproportionate level of obesity in the lesbian population, 25 percent higher than in heterosexual women and almost double than that of gay men.

The Williams Institute also unveiled data from Gallup indicating that 25 percent of LGBT people had, in the last year, gone for at least a period of time without health insurance, eight percent higher than the number for heterosexuals, and are 4.4 percent more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to be without health insurance.









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