A new study shows that 2.8 percent of all Asian and Pacific Islander adults in the U.S. identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). The study is titled, “LGBT Asian and Pacific Islander Individuals and Same-Sex Couples” and was conducted by Angeliki Kastanis, Public Policy Research Fellow at the Williams Institute, and Gary J. Gates, Williams Distinguished Scholar.
Nationally, the estimated 325,000 Asian and Pacific Islander (API) LGBT individuals have lower rates of employment and academic achievement than their non-LGBT counterparts.
Overall, the 33,000 API individuals in same-sex couples are doing better. However Kastanis notes that, “Detailed data analysis reveals vulnerable LGBT subgroups including Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians, female same-sex couples, couples where both partners are API and couples with children. These groups tend to experience lower rates of health insurance coverage, lower academic achievement, higher rates of noncitizenship status, and higher rates of unemployment than other API couples.”
API individuals in same-sex couples tend to live and work in areas where there are high proportions of API individuals in the general population. A third of API same-sex couples live in California, Hawaii and New York.
More than a quarter (26 percent) of same-sex couples that include an API spouse or partner are raising children and these couples evidence economic vulnerability with median household incomes that are 20 percent below the incomes of different-sex API couples with children.
“The findings show that API individuals in same-sex couples are more likely than those in different-sex couples to both have a college degree. However, API same-sex couples raising children have much lower levels of education than their different sex counterparts, which may explain some of their economic vulnerability,” said Gates.
API individuals in same-sex couples are more likely to be born in the U.S. than API individuals in different sex couples (35 percent versus 13 percent). The top three countries of origin reported for API individuals in same-sex couples born outside the U.S. are the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. API individuals in same-sex couples are more likely to be a U.S. citizen than their counterparts in different-sex couples (81 percent versus 68 percent). One in five API same-sex couples are binational (include one citizen and one non-citizen). Furthermore, a quarter of API same-sex couples raising children have at least one partner who is not a citizen.
Other key findings include:
- LGBT API adults have higher rates of unemployment than non-LGBT API adults (11 percent versus 8 percent).
- API same-sex couples raising children are less likely to include two college graduates than comparable API different-sex couples (20 percent versus 43 percent).
- LGBT API adults are less likely to have completed a college degree when compared to their non-LGBT counterparts (42 percent versus 59 percent, respectively).
Rates of educational attainment also vary among subpopulations within the API community. Asian individuals in same-sex couples report more than double the rate of college completion compared to PI/NH individuals. Individuals of Asian Indian, Taiwanese, or Pakistani ancestry report high levels of educational attainment, while Laotian, Hmong, Cambodian, and Hawaiian individuals report lower rates of college completion.
Annual average earnings of API male same-sex couples exceed those of API female same-sex couples by more than $25,000. Female API same-sex couples report average household incomes that are similar to API different-sex couples.
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-sex couples. Both surveys include respondents who identify as Asian, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander when asked to describe their race.
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Source: The Williams Institute