New Report — Disproportionate Impacts: LGBTQ People and the COVID Delta Variant

Movement Advancement Project
3 min readDec 9, 2021

For nearly two years, COVID-19 has disrupted life for all of us. Millions have had the disease and three-quarters of a million people have died in the U.S. alone. The pandemic’s impact also extends far beyond the direct impact of the virus. According to a report released today by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), LGBTQ people are much more likely to have serious financial problems, income loss, and challenges accessing healthcare as the Delta variant progressed.

MAP’s report, The Delta Variant & the Disproportionate Impacts of COVID-19 on LGBTQ Households in the U.S., presents new findings and analysis of a nationally representative survey conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, NPR, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. As in the 2020 survey, these new data show that LGBTQ people experienced higher rates of job loss and work disruption due to the pandemic than non-LGBTQ people.

The report finds that more than half of LGBTQ households experienced at least one serious financial problem in recent months alone.

  • 30% of LGBTQ households reported challenges affording medical care in the past few months, compared to 15% of non-LGBTQ households.
  • LGBTQ households were twice as likely to be struggling to afford food in the past few months.
  • Nearly a quarter of LGBTQ people (23%) faced serious problems paying for housing in the past few months, compared to 13% of non-LGBTQ people.

These new data show that LGBTQ people experienced higher rates of job loss and work disruption due to the pandemic than non-LGBTQ people.

  • Overall, 61% of LGBTQ households reported that, since the start of the pandemic, they had lost or had to quit their job or had their income reduced, compared to 40% of non-LGBTQ households.

The pandemic has made it even more challenging for LGBTQ people to access competent health care, all while exacerbating already existing disparities in mental health.

  • Twenty-eight percent of LGBTQ people indicated they or someone in their households have been unable to get medical care for a serious problem in the past few months when they needed it, compared to 17% of non-LGBTQ households.
  • More than three-quarters (77%) of LGBTQ people said they or someone in their household had experienced serious problems with depression, anxiety, stress, or serious problems sleeping in the past few months, compared to just under half (48%) of non-LGBTQ households.

Additionally, LGBTQ households were more likely than non-LGBTQ households to report that they or someone in their household experienced racial or ethnic discrimination in the past few months, highlighting the unique vulnerability of LGBTQ people of color.

  • A quarter of LGBTQ people reported experiencing discrimination based on their race or ethnicity, compared to 13% of non-LGBTQ people.
  • Twice as many LGBTQ households feared threats or physical attacks because of their race or ethnicity (20% for LGBTQ households compared to 10% for non-LGBTQ households).

As the pandemic continues, LGBTQ people and their families continue to face stark, and disproportionate, impacts on their economic security and their physical and mental health as COVID-19 has amplified and exacerbated disparities that existed before the pandemic. The existing patchwork of legal protections is insufficient, which is why we need a nationwide law like the Equality Act so that LGBTQ people in every community are protected from discrimination.



Movement Advancement Project

MAP is an independent, nonprofit think tank that provides rigorous research, insight and communications that help speed equality and opportunity for all.