Wage gap: LGBTQ workers in US earn 10% less than average workers

A new survey finds US workers who identify as LGBTQ+ earning 90 cents for every dollar an average worker.

A woman photographs pride flags that celebrate Pride Month at the Stonewall National Monument at Christopher Park adjacent to The Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village section of New York City, New York, U.S.
A survey by the HRC Foundation found Native American and Black LGBTQ+ workers had some of the lowest weekly earnings [File: Brendan McDermid/Reuters]

In a rare look at LGBTQ+ earnings, new data find that workers in the U.S. who identify as LGBTQ+ earn, on average, about 90 cents for every dollar the average worker makes.

The survey of 7,000 full-time workers found that median weekly earnings for LGBTQ+ people came in at around $900, according to the report released Wednesday by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. That’s compared to $1,001 a week in median weekly earnings for all full-time workers, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — or about a 10% wage gap.

Wages varied by race, ethnicity and identity. Native American and Black LGBTQ+ workers had some of the lowest weekly earnings. Non-binary, genderqueer, gender-fluid and two-spirit workers made about $698 weekly. Trans women and men earned $600 and $700 weekly, respectively, according to the HRC Foundation.

“While there could certainly be multiple underlying factors, we can’t ignore the fact that this could be due to discrimination because LGBTQ+ folks are not necessarily getting paid equal wages for equal work,” said Shoshana Goldberg, director of public education and research at the foundation, a non-profit focused on research and advocacy for LBGTQ+ people.

The pandemic has economically battered LGBTQ+ people, with research finding higher rates of unemployment and food insecurity among those individuals compared to non-LGBTQ people. In a recent first-of-its-kind survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly a quarter of LGBTQ+ respondents said they’d lost income during the crisis. About one in five LGBTQ+ people live in poverty.

The survey only looked at full-time workers, so doesn’t capture the economic reality for all LGBTQ+ people, Goldberg said. “LGBTQ+ folks are more likely to be unemployed or working part-time, and this has only been exacerbated by the pandemic,” she said.

Source: Bloomberg