Economy News

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.

By Kelsey Butler / Bloomberg

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 / Al Jazeera

A survey by the HRC Foundation found Native American and Black LGBTQ+ workers had some of the lowest weekly earnings [File: Brendan McDermid/Reuters]

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