US Census Bureau Releases its First-Ever LGBTQ+-Inclusive Survey, Capturing Significant Economic Disparities

This year, the US Census Bureau released data from its first-ever LGBTQ+-inclusive survey. Their latest version of the Household Pulse Survey, which provides insights into the experiences of American households during the COVID-19 pandemic, explicitly asked questions about sexual orientation and gender identity – and reaffirmed decades of data showing that LGBTQ+ people disproportionately experience economic hardship.

Data from the survey, collected between July 21 and August 2 of this year, showed that LGBTQ+ people are more likely to experience food insecurity, lose employment, and risk eviction and an inability to pay household expenses when compared to non-LGBTQ+ people. Research from the Human Rights Foundation suggests that these issues have only been further exacerbated for LGBTQ+ people of color throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This information is important because it acknowledges that despite progress for the LGBTQ+ community in recent years, action still needs to be taken at the federal level to provide equitable outcomes for LGBTQ+ people.

We congratulate the Williams Institute, a longtime partner of Out Leadership, in petitioning the Biden Administration to collect LGBTQ+-inclusive survey data. Thanks to their dedicated advocacy work, we’ve gained key insights on the LGBTQ+ economic landscape and a platform to voice ongoing gaps in achieving LGBTQ+ equality. Brad Sears, Executive Director of the Williams Institute, commented:

“This day is the result of two decades of work by the Williams Institute. For 20 years, our scholars have been developing evidence-based recommendations on how best to ask questions on population-based surveys so that LGBT people can identify themselves. They have worked directly with the Census Bureau to develop data and analysis about same-sex couples and LGBT people, and they have advocated for the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity questions on federal surveys. In the absence of federal data, they have conducted their own research—often at great expense in time and money—to show why LGBT-specific data is critical.”

We at Out Leadership know that equality drives business, and business drives equality. As the oldest and largest global LGBTQ+ business network helping business leaders and companies connect with talent, transform organizations, and compete on social purpose, LGBTQ+-inclusive census data is a crucial first step towards achieving economic policies and business practices that systematically empower the LGBTQ+ community in all assets of their lives. We look forward to continuing our work with the Williams Institute, along with our member firms and nonprofit partners, to accomplish these goals.