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Report: LGBT people of color face higher risk of poverty

Poverty rates among people who are LGBT are high, but economic insecurity is even greater for LGBT people of color, according to a report released by the Movement Advancement Project and the Center for American Progress.

NASW is a partner on the report, titled “Paying an Unfair Price: The Financial Penalty for LGBT People of Color.”

About one third of LGBT people in the United States — or about 3 million adults — identify as people of color. This population and their families experience poverty rates far higher than the national average.

For instance, 52 percent of children raised by black male couples and 38 percent of children raised by black female couples live in poverty, compared with 15.2 percent of children living with black opposite-sex couples, the report says.

Several changes must be made to address such high poverty rates, the report says, including enacting laws that protect LGBT people of color and their families from discrimination and recognizing such families. Schools must address bullying, harassment, violence and other barriers that bar LGBT people of color from getting an education, it says.

“Disproportionate numbers of LGBT people of color live in places that lack any explicit state-level protections for LGBT people,” said Ineke Mushovic, executive director of the Movement Advancement Project. “This means that LGBT people of color face a high risk of economic harm from anti-LGBT laws.”

Download the report here.

From the July 2015 NASW News.


  1. I downloaded and reviewed this report. No where in the document does it identify any specific “anti-LGBT law”. Does the lack of laws specifying protections of LGBT people of color equal the term “anti-LGBT laws”?

    What other indicators may contribute to the higher poverty rate among LGBT people of color? Education? Geographic location?

    It will be interesting to see if this data improves with national legalization of same-sex marriage. I wait in hope of better futures for all.

    • Good morning Beth:

      I hope you are well. I think you are correct in surmising that the lack of laws protecting people who are LGBT results in discrimination. However, I suggest you contact NASW Senior Advisor Evelyn Tomaszewski, who covers this issue and was our liason with MAPS on this study. She can give you more details on the study and perhaps answer your questions.

      She can be emailed at

      Please let me know if you have any problems contacting her.

      Have a good day.

      Greg Wright
      NASW Public Relations Manager

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