Current data make clear that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people fare worse than the general population on a host of economic measures, including poverty, income, employment, and other financial indicators (such as health insurance enrollment and childcare payments). But the available data does not provide the kind of complete picture that would be available from a comprehensive population survey. This limits the ability of federal agencies and others to address these inequalities.

To respond to this shortcoming, the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) and 20 other organizations have provided a comment to the US Census Bureau, urging the Bureau to modify its request for approval of the upcoming ASEC to include the addition of sexual orientation and gender identity questions. The ASEC is a set of supplemental questions to the Current Population Survey (CPS) that collects information on the economic well-being of the population. This comment was submitted with the assistance of Democracy Forward.

The comment explains how ASEC’s collection of SOGI data would enable federal agencies to better pursue their statutory missions, such as by improving understanding of the need for federal poverty and health insurance programs and resources that benefit LGBTQ individuals and by supporting nondiscrimination enforcement. The data would also support state, local, and private anti-poverty efforts and would provide a wealth of information for researchers and advocacy organizations. Furthermore, the comment recommends the Bureau should engage in and promote research, development, and testing for expanded measures that allow for the identification of intersex, nonbinary, and other sexual and minority populations.

The Bureau recently included SOGI questions in its Household Pulse Survey, which has already generated data being used by researchers and advocates to understand the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people during the COVID-19 pandemic. MAP and the 20 other organizations encourage the Bureau to include the addition of SOGI questions on the ASEC modeled on the Household Pulse Survey questions.

Read the entire comment here.