A U.S. Census First: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) Questions Included in Household Pulse Survey
For the first time, the U.S. Census Bureau included questions allowing participants in the Household Pulse Survey (HPS) to identify as LGBT. The HPS is designed to provide quick information about how people in the United States are weathering the pandemic. Data are collected and released every two weeks.
Organizations, including the Movement Advancement Project, have advocated for years to have questions about sexual orientation and gender identity included on federal surveys. Today’s release of data highlighting the experiences of LGBT people is exciting and a reflection of this long-term priority of LGBT advocates.
Toplines released by the Census reveal that LGBT people and their families continue to have challenges navigating the pandemic — and often in unique ways from non-LGBT people. The data were collected in late June and early July, so these data provide a critical, current snapshot about LGBT people and allow comparisons to non-LGBT people. Read more about the findings below.
LGBT people are more likely to have lost jobs during the past month.
One in five (20%) of LGBT people said they, or someone in their household, had lost employment in the last four weeks compared to 17% of non-LGBT people.
Three in five (63%) LGBT people, compared to 57% of non-LGBT people, reported they worked onsite at a workplace over the past week. This is consistent with other research showing LGBT people are more likely to work in minimum wage and frontline positions, as well as in industries where remote work is less likely.
LGBT people, including those with children, are facing often higher rates of food and housing insecurity.
- LGBT people were nearly twice (13%) as likely to report that they sometimes or often did not have enough to eat in the past seven days compared to non-LGBT people (7%).
- Of households with children under the age of 18, the same pattern occurred with 16% of LGBT people with children in their homes reporting they sometimes or often did not have enough to eat in the last week, compared to 9% of non-LGBT people with children.
- Remarkably — and again highlighting the economic insecurity experienced by LGBT parents — 35% of LGBT people with children in their homes reported receiving at least one type of free meal or meal assistance in the past seven days compared to 29% of non-LGBT people with children in their homes. Overall, 37% of LGBT people said it was very or somewhat difficult to pay their usual household expenses during the pandemic compared to 26% of non-LGBT people.
- 11% of LGBT homeowners who still have a mortgage say they are behind on their mortgage, compared to 7% of non-LGBT homeowners with a mortgage.
- Nearly one in five (18%) LGBT renters are behind on their rent compared to14% of non-LGBT renters. Roughly equal numbers (46%) of both LGBT and non-LGBT renters who are behind on their rent say it is very or somewhat likely they will face eviction in the next two months.
LGBT people are less likely to have health insurance and more likely to have experienced mental health distress during the pandemic.
Mirroring previous research, LGBT people were more likely to lack health insurance: 14% of LGBT people reported they currently lack health insurance compared to 8% of non-LGBT people.
Across a variety of measures, LGBT people reported higher rates of mental distress and symptoms of anxiety or depression:
- 48% of LGBT people said they felt nervous, anxious, or on edge more than half the days or nearly every day over the last two weeks compared to 23% of non-LGBT people.
- 25% of LGBT people said they felt down, depressed, or hopeless nearly every day over the last two weeks compared to 9% of non-LGBT people.
LGBT people are more likely to seek mental health care:
- 23% of LGBT people, compared to 9% of non-LGBT people, said they received counseling or therapy from a mental health professional in the last four weeks.
- At the same time, 25% of LGBT people, compared to 10% of non-LGBT people, said they needed counseling or therapy from a mental health professional, but did not get it for any reason in the last four weeks.
LGBT people who haven’t received a COVID vaccine are more likely to get vaccinated:
- LGBT people reported similar rates of being diagnosed with COVID: 14% of LGBT people and 15% of non-LGBT people say they’ve had a previous COVID-19 diagnosis.
- LGBT people report similar rates of vaccination compared to their non-LGBT peers: 84% of LGBT people, compared to 82% of non-LGBT people, said they have received a COVID-19 vaccine.
However, among the unvaccinated, LGBT people have a higher likelihood or intention of getting the vaccine:
- Of LGBT people who have not yet received a COVID vaccine, 28% say they will probably or definitely get one, compared to 19% of non-LGBT people who have not yet received a vaccine. Notably, nearly the same percentage of LGBT people and non-LGBT people (31% vs. 34%, respectively) cited government mistrust as a reason for delaying or not getting the vaccine.
- Among those whose children ages 12–17 have not received the vaccine, LGBT parents again report higher intention to get one: 40% of LGBT people with unvaccinated children ages 12–17 say their children will probably or definitely get the vaccine, compared to 30% of non-LGBT people with unvaccinated children ages 12–17.
LGBT-headed families raising children are more likely to have spent their Child Tax Credit (CTC) than to have saved it or paid off debt.
Child Tax Credit
- 15% of LGBT people indicated they, or someone in their household, received the CTC in the past seven days, compared to 23% of non-LGBT people. This gap is smaller than one might expect given that fewer LGBT people are raising children compared to non-LGBT people, suggesting that a greater percentage of LGBT-headed families qualify for the payments than non-LGBT families.
- Of families who received the CTC in the past seven days, LGBT people raising children were more likely to have spent it (34%) — rather than saved it or used it to pay off debt — compared to non-LGBT people (26%). This is likely a reflection of the increased economic insecurity that LGBT people, especially parents, experience.
- One in three LGBT people with children under five reported that their children were unable to attend daycare or another childcare arrangement because of safety concerns, compared to 29% of non-LGBT people.
- The most cited childcare arrangement for those whose children did not attend daycare by LGBT people was that an adult in the household took unpaid leave to care for children, while non-LGBT people were more likely to say that an adult in the household supervised children while working.