Gay families are poorer...

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    Mar 22, 2009 4:12 AM GMT
    "Study: Gay families are poorer

    Author: Bias, lack of rights, benefits likely cause

    Nicole C. Brambila • The Desert Sun • March 21, 2009


    A new study released Friday debunks the gay affluence myth, showing higher poverty rates for same-sex families compared to opposite-sex married couples.

    As reported on mydesert.com, the report conducted by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law is a first-of-its-kind look into poverty among lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

    “I think the big take-away is just reminding people that gay people are everywhere,” said M.V. Lee Badgett, research director at the Williams Institute and the study's author.

    “To most people, I think it's a surprise because they're used to hearing from conservative groups and gay marketers about the affluence.”

    The data, Badgett said, undermines “the persistent myth that the gay community is monolithically affluent.”

    Among the report's findings:

    One in five children living in a same-sex household is poor compared to one in 10 for children in opposite-sex married families.

    Nationally, 24 percent of lesbians and bisexual women are poor compared to 19 percent of heterosexual women.

    15 percent of gay and bisexual men nationally are poor compared to 13 percent of heterosexual men.

    Researchers theorized gays and lesbians could be more vulnerable to poverty because of employment discrimination, lack of insurance, less family support and no access to marriage and the more than 1,100 rights and benefits it affords.

    The Williams Institute is a national think tank dedicated to research on sexual orientation law and public policy. The report relied on data by the 2000 U.S. Census, the National Survey of Family Growth and the California Health Interview Survey to calculate poverty rates for LGBT people.

    Locals found the report both surprising and not.

    Greg Rodriguez, who is a stay-at-home dad of two sons with special needs, said the gay affluence myth likely stems from the stereotype of gays as “DINKS” — double income no kids.

    “We're from all different stripes,” the Palm Springs resident said. “We go through exactly the same things their family is going through.”

    But Rodriguez knows if his husband, John, dies, he'll have to bear greater tax burdens an opposite-sex couple won't.

    The General Accounting Office has identified 1,138 rights and benefits to civil marriage that include survivor and Social Security benefits and the tax-free transfer of property between spouses.

    “Gay parents have to do everything that straight parents do with one hand tied behind their back,” Badgett said.

    Given the report's findings, the researchers urge more attention be paid to collecting data on sexual orientation, which in turn could be used to educate policy makers."

    Ref: http://www.mydesert.com/article/20090321/NEWS01/903210318

    And the meek shall inherit the Earth...

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 22, 2009 11:12 AM GMT
    Sorry I find we are better off than many. We don't play the victoms. My homosexual family.

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    Mar 22, 2009 11:15 AM GMT
    I can understand that being the case in the USA. In Canada it may be the opposite since we can marry and share in benefits at work, as well as the Government sponsored benefits (e.g. Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security). All these changes have happened in the last 10 years or so.
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    Mar 22, 2009 11:26 AM GMT
    I find this very hard to believe. For the most part we, (Gays), are better educated, more driven, and come from very affluent backgrounds.
    In the large circle of friends I have, both Gay and straight, the Gays are certainly the more successful lot. Even the ones with children.
    -Keith
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  • zakariahzol

    Posts: 2241

    Mar 22, 2009 11:35 AM GMT
    I dont think so. Most of us are single so we dont have kids. So we dont have the obligation like paying for children expenses. In my case ,I am single and living alone , (I am not sure you considered myself a family), I have all those disposible income for my use alone. Other straight people need to worried about buying stuff for their family and need bigger house/car. I use my money for saving , travelling and having fun.

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    Mar 22, 2009 11:38 AM GMT
    jprichva saidAnecdotes are not nearly as reliable as research.


    I'm in no way trying to be flip about it. (For once, not trying to be insulting here. LOL!)
    It's just my personal experience over the years. In many cases I find personal experience to be more credible than published studies.
    -Keith
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    Mar 22, 2009 11:46 AM GMT
    Musclequest said I find this very hard to believe. For the most part we, (Gays), are better educated, more driven, and come from very affluent backgrounds.
    In the large circle of friends I have, both Gay and straight, the Gays are certainly the more successful lot. Even the ones with children.
    -Keith
    icon_twisted.gif


    I think it's much easier to come out if you're middle class.

    ... but that's a whole new thread.
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    Mar 22, 2009 11:48 AM GMT
    jprichva saidWhen I lived in Virginia, I knew a surprising number of gay couples and families in the poorer parts of the state...southside (near Victoria), Shenandoah Valley (up towards Winchester) and most of them were blue-collar, working-class couples with very little money. The children of these families were not designer-surrogate kids, or expensive foreign adoptions, they were usually the biological kids of one member of the couple from a previous straight marriage or relationship. And these families ranged from very middle-class right down to borderline-poverty level. These weren't glamorous gays with jobs in media and fashion; these were people who worked in auto repair garages, and bagging groceries and installing roofing materials.


    Hmmm....I moved to VA from NYC/NJ several years ago. I am over on the West side of the state, near Roanoke. At first glance, this area appears pretty poor to me. It's mostly populated with a bunch of dumb hillbillies. Yet the many Gay friends I have here, several with children whom are from this Dogpatch area, are quite successful and striving actually. We seem to fairing very well.
    -Keith
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    Mar 22, 2009 11:52 AM GMT
    Lost_And_Found said
    Musclequest said I find this very hard to believe. For the most part we, (Gays), are better educated, more driven, and come from very affluent backgrounds.
    In the large circle of friends I have, both Gay and straight, the Gays are certainly the more successful lot. Even the ones with children.
    -Keith
    icon_twisted.gif


    I think it's much easier to come out if you're middle class.

    ... but that's a whole new thread.


    I don't agree at all. Be it middle or Upper class. When I came out it was horrible. I was cut off financially, trust fund was bloody gone!!! It wasn't until my family came to their senses that that was resolved. That took several years. In the mean time I thrived on my own.
    -Keith
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    Mar 22, 2009 12:05 PM GMT
    Musclequest said
    Lost_And_Found said
    Musclequest said I find this very hard to believe. For the most part we, (Gays), are better educated, more driven, and come from very affluent backgrounds.
    In the large circle of friends I have, both Gay and straight, the Gays are certainly the more successful lot. Even the ones with children.
    -Keith
    icon_twisted.gif


    I think it's much easier to come out if you're middle class.

    ... but that's a whole new thread.


    I don't agree at all. Be it middle or Upper class. When I came out it was horrible. I was cut off financially, trust fund was bloody gone!!! It wasn't until my family came to their senses that that was resolved. That took several years. In the mean time I thrived on my own.
    -Keith
    icon_twisted.gif


    But...Lost & Found has a point....the population studied here has elusive tendencies which may be more prevalent at the working class level.

    Keith, you had the means to survive w/o support....not easier for you since you had a lot at stake, but you could afford to tell everyone to kiss-off.

    It can also be very expensive to adopt which, I'd guess, a higher proportion of gay families do. And adopted kids available to gay parents may have a higher incidence of special needs....I mean maybe...
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    Mar 22, 2009 12:39 PM GMT
    Beaux said
    Musclequest said
    Lost_And_Found said
    Musclequest said I find this very hard to believe. For the most part we, (Gays), are better educated, more driven, and come from very affluent backgrounds.
    In the large circle of friends I have, both Gay and straight, the Gays are certainly the more successful lot. Even the ones with children.
    -Keith
    icon_twisted.gif


    I think it's much easier to come out if you're middle class.

    ... but that's a whole new thread.


    I don't agree at all. Be it middle or Upper class. When I came out it was horrible. I was cut off financially, trust fund was bloody gone!!! It wasn't until my family came to their senses that that was resolved. That took several years. In the mean time I thrived on my own.
    -Keith
    icon_twisted.gif


    But...Lost & Found has a point....the population studied here has elusive tendencies which may be more prevalent at the working class level.

    Keith, you had the means to survive w/o support....not easier for you since you had a lot at stake, but you could afford to tell everyone to kiss-off.

    It can also be very expensive to adopt which, I'd guess, a higher proportion of gay families do. And adopted kids available to gay parents may have a higher incidence of special needs....I mean maybe...


    You may be right about Lost and Found's point. I really don't know any "working class" Gays at all. I don't mean that in a snobbish way.
    It has been my thought that if there are many of these poor/working class Gays, that being poor/working class has kept them in the closet. I came to that conclusion because we had a family that lived as caretakers on one of my family's holdings. They had a son around my age, (about 18-20 yrs ago), who said he could never come out. That people like him wouldn't understand....yadda, yadda, yadda....
    So I would imagine that many Gays in the unfortunate realm of being of the poor/working class breeding process would not be out enough in numbers for their statistics to be counted in that study.
    -Cheers,
    Keith icon_twisted.gif
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    Mar 22, 2009 9:43 PM GMT
    Musclequest said
    jprichva saidAnecdotes are not nearly as reliable as research.


    I'm in no way trying to be flip about it. (For once, not trying to be insulting here. LOL!)
    It's just my personal experience over the years. In many cases I find personal experience to be more credible than published studies.
    -Keith
    icon_twisted.gif


    Spot on Keith.........
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    Mar 23, 2009 9:53 AM GMT
    What that study doesn't say is what percentage of gay people are more affluent than average.

    Still, to those who doubt the truth of the report, I'd suggest that people who are well off often tend to mostly know other people who are well off. Just as poor people mostly tend to know other poor people.

    Also, it's not as if the study is saying that gay people are poor in huge numbers. It just seems to be casting some doubt on the stereotype that all gay people have lots of disposable income.
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    Mar 23, 2009 10:33 AM GMT
    The research is complete crap, it was done by one of the worst universities in the world, UCLA.





    O wait I am biased, I go to USC.

    But really I would be interested in finding out the specifics of the study, especially the sample size and method used.
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    Mar 23, 2009 11:17 AM GMT
    collegestudent86 saidThe research is complete crap, it was done by one of the worst universities in the world, UCLA.





    O wait I am biased, I go to USC.

    But really I would be interested in finding out the specifics of the study, especially the sample size and method used.


    It would be nice to know the breakdown between lesbians and gay men. I have heard that lesbian couples in Canada are less well off in comparison to gay couples.
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    Mar 23, 2009 11:58 AM GMT
    theatrengym said people who are well off often tend to mostly know other people who are well off. Just as poor people mostly tend to know other poor people.

    TnG, it reminds me of the classic quote by Pauline Kael about Richard Nixon, "How did he win? Nobody I know voted for him."
    But there is something to Lostandfound and Keith's hunch that poor people are less likely to be out. Coming out requires a sufficient educational level to understand yourself and your options; some kind of social support network; and the means to spend time hanging out in gay venues to meet other gay people. Poor people are likely to be deprived of all of these.
    Anecdotally, anyone with a gay social life will tend to meet people from very diverse backgrounds -- except for poor people, whom you never meet.
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    Mar 23, 2009 11:59 AM GMT
    collegestudent86 saidBut really I would be interested in finding out the specifics of the study, especially the sample size and method used.


    You can read it in full here.

    I don't like census data generally, but it looks like they used census data then conducted phone interviews to 40,000 people. Can't wait to read it.
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    Mar 23, 2009 12:05 PM GMT
    im going to be poor in the future icon_eek.gif

    noooooooooooooooooo
  • HndsmKansan

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    Mar 23, 2009 12:09 PM GMT
    I find it a little hard to swallow, but I have seen all kinds in my limited experience. Many of my gay clients and friends are serious money savers.. a few are "spend thrifts"... but most seem to have a greater disposablie income than their straight counterparts.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Mar 23, 2009 12:22 PM GMT
    I find the results of the survey very curious.

    If a family is defined as one or two adults with at least one kid, then extremely few gays and lesbians fit that description. My guess is that well over 75% of us do not have a live-in partner, nor kids.

    Of the gay men I know, nearly all of them have very well paying jobs, own their homes, and travel fairly often.

    Maybe they just surveyed couples who have kids, but there are not many of them in the gay and lesbian community. I don't know anyone with kids.
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    Mar 23, 2009 1:58 PM GMT
    TexDef07 said
    theatrengym said people who are well off often tend to mostly know other people who are well off. Just as poor people mostly tend to know other poor people.

    TnG, it reminds me of the classic quote by Pauline Kael about Richard Nixon, "How did he win? Nobody I know voted for him."
    But there is something to Lostandfound and Keith's hunch that poor people are less likely to be out. Coming out requires a sufficient educational level to understand yourself and your options; some kind of social support network; and the means to spend time hanging out in gay venues to meet other gay people. Poor people are likely to be deprived of all of these.
    Anecdotally, anyone with a gay social life will tend to meet people from very diverse backgrounds -- except for poor people, whom you never meet.


    Well, I've lived most of my life in New York. I'm not rich and most of my gay friends are definitely not rich. Most of them are not poor either, but I can attest to there being gay people who are not rich.

    Although I'm a native New Yorker, I've lived one other place for certain periods: Lancaster, PA. I know lots of gay people there, and most of them are not rich or even upper-middle class. Most of them are of average income and some are probably of below-average income.

    I certainly know gay people in both places who really struggle economically.

    Of course, I also know some gay people who are very well off. But I'm not so quick to question the suggestion that it's a myth that gay people almost universally have above-average income.
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    Mar 23, 2009 2:12 PM GMT
    Musclequest said
    jprichva saidAnecdotes are not nearly as reliable as research.


    I'm in no way trying to be flip about it. (For once, not trying to be insulting here. LOL!)
    It's just my personal experience over the years. In many cases I find personal experience to be more credible than published studies.
    -Keith
    icon_twisted.gif


    Yes, that's what we call confirmation bias
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    Mar 23, 2009 2:39 PM GMT
    TexDef07 said
    TnG, it reminds me of the classic quote by Pauline Kael about Richard Nixon, "How did he win? Nobody I know voted for him."
    But there is something to Lostandfound and Keith's hunch that poor people are less likely to be out.


    That is a great quote by Kael.

    Which reminds me of something: I worked locally for McGovern in 1972, even though I was just 14. I hated Nixon so much. (Now, of course, he seems pretty good in comparison to some of our later presidents.) I was very convinced that despite the polls, McGovern would win. Even if people thought they were going to vote for Nixon, when they got in the booth, they'd realize they couldn't. Funny the things you believe when you're young.

    Anyway, if poor people are less likely to be out, wouldn't that suggest that, if anything, this study might be underestimating the percentages of less-affluent and poor gay people? Unless those in charge of the poll accounted for that in some way.

  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Mar 23, 2009 2:45 PM GMT
    Actually, this study makes perfect sense to me, and I am not sure why so many people have a hard time swallowing it. Some people are talking about how gays don'ts have kids, which isn't what this article is about. Yes, single gay men or coupled gay men without kids fair better economically because they do not have to support children. This study only talks about gay couples with kids. It addresses the fact gays are more likely to be poorer than heterosexual couples most likely because they do not receive the same economic benefits of marriage. There's no victim playing here. And it's rather black and white. If couple A is straight and couple B is gay, both make the same amount of money, and both spend the same amount of money, but couple A gets benefits like spousal insurance coverage, then Couple A will have more money than couple B not because couple B doesn't work as hard, but simply they don't have the same advantages. A lot of people in this thread seemed threatened by that scenario and I am not sure why.
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    Mar 23, 2009 2:51 PM GMT
    Studies and stats can be manipulated to make whatever point the researcher wants. There is likely another study out there that shows the opposite is true.