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One million African-Americans identify as LGBT

LOS ANGELES — An estimated 1,018,700 (3.7%) of African-American adults consider themselves LGBT and 34% of African-American same-gender couples are raising children, according to a new report.

Released by UCLA Williams Institute Scholars Angeliki Kastanis, Public Policy Research Fellow, and Gary J. Gates, Distinguished Scholar, the study titled “LGBT African-American Individuals and African-American Same-Sex Couples” includes socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of African-American LGBT individuals and African-American same-gender couples in the U.S.

Currently, the estimated 84,000 African-American individuals in same-gender couples tend to live in areas where there are higher proportions of African-Americans. For example, a quarter of African-American same-gender couples live in Georgia, New York, North Carolina and Maryland.

The report finds overall higher unemployment rates (15% vs. 12%) and lower proportions with a college degree (23% vs. 26%) among LGBT African-Americans, when compared to their non-LGBT counterparts. However, these disadvantages are not present among African-Americans in same-gender couples. 25% of African-Americans in same-gender couples have completed a college degree, compared to 22% of African-Americans in different-sex couples. In addition, 71% of African-Americans in same-gender couples are employed compared to 68% of their counterparts in different-sex couples.

LGBT African-Americans are also less likely than their non-LGBT counterparts to have health insurance.

“Given their lower levels of health insurance coverage and the evidence of broader economic disadvantage, the opportunity for less expensive health care resulting from the Affordable Care Act may be particularly attractive for LGBT African-Americans,” study co-author Gates said.

Nationally, how African-American same-gender couples fare compared to their different-gender counterparts varies significantly depending on the gender of the couple and whether the couple is raising children. For example, female African-American same-gender couples, which comprise 58% of all African-American same-gender couples, earn over $20,000 less than male African-American same-gender couples. Further, African-American same-gender couples raising children, report household median incomes $15,000 lower than comparable African-American different-sex couples ($47,300 vs. $63,020).

“LGBT African-American parents and their children evidence significant economic disadvantage and many live in states without LGBT anti-discrimination laws or marriage equality. Establishing these important legal protections could really help these families,” study co-author Angeliki Kastanis said.

Another significant finding in the report is that LGBT African-American females and African-American females in same-gender couples are three times more likely to report military service than their non-LGBT counterparts. Notably, almost one in 10 African-American females in same-gender couples report serving in the military. While African-American males in same-gender couples are less likely to serve in the military than those in different-gender couples (13% versus 25%), the rate of reported military service for African-American males in same-gender couples is still about one in seven individuals.

The report considers the characteristics of adults who identify as LGBT using the Gallup Daily tracking survey. Data from the 2008-2010 American Community Survey are used to consider characteristics of both married and unmarried same-gender couples. U.S. Census 2010 data are used to report the number of same-gender couples in the U.S. All surveys include respondents who identify as African-American (non-Hispanic) when asked to describe their race.

The full report is available HERE.