The LGBTQ+ Gap: Recent Estimates for Young Adults in the United States
45 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2022
Date Written: April 1, 2022
This article provides recent estimates of earnings and mental health for sexual and gender minority young adults in the United States. Using data from a nationally representative sample of bachelor’s degree recipients, I find a significant earnings and mental health gap between self-identified LGBTQ+ and comparable heterosexual cisgender graduates. On average, sexual and gender minorities experience 22% lower earnings ten years after graduation. About half of this gap can be attributed to LGBTQ+ graduates being less likely to complete a high-paying major and work in a high-paying occupation (e.g., STEM and business). In addition, LGBTQ+ graduates are more than twice more likely to report having a mental illness. I then analyze the role of sexual orientation concealment and find a more pronounced earnings and mental health gap for closeted graduates.
Keywords: LGBTQ+, Labor Market Discrimination, Mental Health
JEL Classification: I14, J15, J16, J31, J71
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation