BY BTL Staff
LOS ANGELES – A new Williams Institute Study shows that eliminating the gender wage gap would reduce LGBT poverty and help same-sex couples while the sexual orientation wage gap would help men in same-sex couples.
According to a new report released June 2 by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, losing the gender wage gap would have a significant impact on poverty rates among same-sex couples and different-sex couples and would reduce the poverty wage gap between the two.
The report, titled “The Impact of Wage Equality on Sexual Orientation Poverty Gaps,” examines which sources of wage differences – gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation – make the biggest impact on poverty among same-sex couples.
“Sexual orientation discrimination creates economic problems for people in same-sex couples, but we reduce poverty the most for same-sex couples by closing the gender wage gap and racial and ethnic wage gaps,” said M.V. Lee Badgett, co-author of the study and Williams Distinguished Scholar at the Williams Institute and professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Key data of the report found that eliminating the gender wage gap would reduce the poverty rate for women in same-sex couples from 7.9 percent to 5.4 percent; by eliminating the racial wage gap the poverty rate for African-American men in same-sex couples would fall from 14.5 percent to 10.9 percent; and for African-American women in same-sex couples, the poverty rate would drop from 24.7 percent to 16.9 percent. If Hispanics and non-Hispanics earned similar wages the poverty rate for Hispanic men in same-sex couples would fall from 4.9 percent to 3.8 percent and would fall from 9.2 percent to 7.4 percent for Hispanic women in same-sex relationships. Women in same-sex couples tend to make more than women in different-sex couples and if they earned similar wages, the poverty rate for women in different-sex couples would fall from 6.6 percent to 5.8 percent; if men in same-sex couples earned similar wages to men in different-sex couples, their poverty rate would fall from 3.3 percent to 2.2 percent.
“If we close all forms of the wage gap – gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation – we reduce poverty rates for all couples and completely close the gap between same-sex couples and different-sex couples,” said Alyssa Schneebaum, Hertha Firnberg Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Vienna University of Economics and Business.
The report used data on same-sex couples and different-sex couples from the 2012 American Community Survey to assess the impact of several hypothetical reductions in wage gaps between men and women, for people of color and for gay and bisexual men compared with heterosexual men.