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LGBTQ+ Americans Make Important Contributions to the Economy Despite Facing Unique Challenges

Key Points:
An estimated 18.3 million Americans identified as LGBTQ+ in 2021
While an increasing number of prosperous people are openly LGBTQ+, overall, LGBTQ+ Americans are disproportionately likely to face economic hardship
The year 2021 saw the highest number of enacted anti-LGBTQ+ state laws in recent history
Better data is needed to understand and improve LGBTQ+ Americans’ economic situation

Americans who identify as LGBTQ+ represent a rising share of the U.S. population and make critical contributions to the American economy. However, LGBTQ+ Americans face significant challenges from systemic discrimination and a growing wave of state legislation restricting their rights.
Legal recognition of marriage equality and broader cultural acceptance of some members of the LGBTQ+ community have allowed these Americans to openly play a larger role in the U.S. economy. However, continued structural bigotry leads to poorer health outcomes and greater economic insecurity, particularly for transgender Americans and LGBTQ+ people of color.

Most recently, this progress has been threatened by the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade and repeal the right to privacy which underlies fundamental legal protection for LGBTQ+ Americans. Additionally, states have proposed and enacted a rising number of policies that target and criminalize LGBTQ+ people.

The Biden administration has taken important steps to enforce anti-discrimination laws that protect LGBTQ+ Americans and expand health protections. At the same time, a lack of consistent and comprehensive data on the LGBTQ+ economic experience hampers a full understanding of the range of experiences across this broad and diverse population of Americans. Without better data, researchers and policy makers cannot clearly identify the barriers to economic security facing the LGBTQ+ community or take steps to address these challenges.

Read the full report.