New HRC Report Puts Numbers to COVID-19’s Grave Financial Toll

Twenty percent of LGBTQ respondents said their personal finances are "much worse off" than this time last year.

A new report from HRC is shedding light on the disproportionately devastating economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on LGBTQ Americans.

The report, released in collaboration with PSB Research, sourced data from an online poll of 1,000 adult Americans earlier this month. The findings are illuminating: While many Americans are dealing with a loss of income amid the pandemic, 30% of LGBTQ respondents reported cuts to their work hours compared to 22% of cisgender, heterosexual respondents.

Asked how their personal finances are faring, 20% of LGBTQ participants said they are “much worse off” than this time last year, while just 11% of the general population answered the same way. Forty-two percent of LGBTQ people also said they have adjusted their household budgets due to COVID-19 compared to 30% of cishet people.

Across the board, more than one-tenth of LGBTQ (12%) and cishet (14%) respondents reported becoming unemployed amid the pandemic.

The bright side? HRC and PSB Research also found that queer Americans are more likely to be taking active steps to learn about and prepare for the pandemic. While less than half (45%) of cishet people said they have conducted their own research about COVID-19, 60% of LGBTQ people reported already doing so. More than half of queer people also trust COVID-19 guidance from public health experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compared to 35% and 46% of the general population, respectively.

In a media statement, HRC president Alphonso David said the findings were “unfortunately not surprising,” referencing previous research and open letters to health-care officials from LGBTQ advocates.

“This new data bears out our initial predictions that LGBTQ people were likely to face greater economic hardship, and is more proof that the most marginalized communities are the most at risk,” David said. “We have seen the health impact of this virus on communities of color, and we now have the data to show how the LGBTQ community is struggling. For those of us at the intersections of these identities, it is even more profound. We must take this moment to fight for the resources to ensure that communities most impacted can weather this storm.”

View the report in full here.

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