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1.4 million Latino adults in U.S. identify as LGBT

LOS ANGELES – An estimated 1.4 million (4.3%) of Latino/a adults consider themselves LGBT and 29% of Latino/a same-gender couples are raising children, according to a new report.

The study was released today by UCLA Williams Institute Scholars Angeliki Kastanis, Public Policy Research Fellow, and Gary J. Gates, Williams Distinguished Scholar.

Titled “LGBT Latino/a Individuals and Latino/a Same-gender Couples,” the report includes socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of Latino/a LGBT individuals and Latino/a same-gender couples in the U.S.

“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,” commented Gates.

Currently, there are an estimated 1,419,200 LGBT Latino/a adults living in the U.S. The estimated 146,100 Latino/a individuals in same-gender couples tend to live in areas where there are higher proportions of Latinos/as. For example, a third of Latino/a same-gender couples live in New Mexico, California and Texas.

“Notably, many LGBT Latinos live in states, such as Florida and Texas, with few legal protections for LGBT people and families,” Kastanis said. “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-gender couples, impacts members of both the Latino and LGBT communities.”

In 63% of same-gender couples with a Latino/a partner, the other partner is not Latino/a. This is the case for only 32% of opposite-gender couples.

Nationally, Latino/a individuals in same-gender couples are faring better than Latinos/as in opposite-gender couples. 26% of all Latinos/as in same-gender couples have completed a college degree or more, compared to 14% of Latinos/as in opposite-gender couples. They are also more likely to be employed and to have health insurance.

But the data evidence that there are subgroups within the Latino/a LGBT community that are more socioeconomically vulnerable. Reported median household incomes for Latino/a same-gender couples raising children are 20% below the incomes of same-gender Latino/a couples without children.

Further, Latina/female same-gender couples make almost $15,000 less than Latino/male same-gender couples and have lower rates of college completion. And while Latino/a individuals in same-gender couples have higher employment rates than Latinos/as in opposite-gender couples, LGBT Latino/a individuals, both single and coupled, indicate that they are more likely to be unemployed than non-LGBT Latino/a adults (14% versus 11%).

Rates of education also vary depending on individual ancestry. Individuals of Spanish or Cuban ancestry report higher levels of educational attainment, while Mexican, Salvadoran and Puerto Rican individuals report lower rates of college completion.

Latino/a individuals in same-gender couples are also more likely to be born in the U.S. than Latino/a individuals in different sex couples (59% versus 37%) and more likely to be a U.S. citizen than their counterparts in opposite-gender couples (80% versus 62%). However, one in seven Latino/a same-gender couples are binational (include one citizen and one non-citizen). Furthermore, one in five Latino/a same-gender couples raising children have two non-citizen partners.

The top three countries of origin reported for Latino/a individuals in same-gender couples born outside the U.S. are Mexico, Puerto Rico and Cuba.

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 Latino/a or Hispanic when asked to describe their race.

A complete copy of “LGBT Latino/a Individuals and Latino/a Same-gender Couples,” can be viewed HERE.