‘Black Census’ Finds That Low Wages Are the Top Issue For LGB+ Respondents

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Jul 05, 2019

Black Futures Lab, which conducted the largest survey of Black people in the United States since Reconstruction, has released a new report about an essential subset of the more than 30,000 respondents—the 5,400 people who described their sexualities as lesbian, gay, bisexual or “other.”

The report, titled when the “When the Rainbow is Not Enough” in a nod to late Black feminist Ntozake Shange’s work, found that more than 90 percent of non-heterosexual respondents named low wages as their biggest problem. They also found that—single or coupled—respondents “are more likely to have lower incomes than those who identified as heterosexual.”

The Lab, a project of Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, notes that it plans to examine gender identification separate from sexual orientation to avoid conflating the communities. 

While many couples said they are raising children, and the report found that they are more likely to do so compared to any other race or ethnicity, income insecurity outweighs marriage equality as the most pressing issue. That isn’t surprising, considering that gay (69 percent), bisexual (68 percent) and lesbian (62 percent) households reported annual incomes below $50,000, compared to 58 percent of Black heterosexual households. 

If low paychecks aren’t stressful enough, the report highlights police misconduct as another big issue in the community. Because the majority of respondents agreed that “what happens to the Black community affects what happens in your life,” a whopping 90 percent support the Black Lives Matter movement, showing their strong identification with the Black community as a whole.  

Read the full report here.