Research on LGBTQ People and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Research by HRC and PSB Insights shows that LGBTQ people face disproportionate hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic.

HRC Foundation and PSB research in March 2021 found that amidst the worsening economic crisis, disparities exist in openness to receiving the vaccines alongside concerns about the vaccines’ safety and efficacy. While 42% of LGBTQ adults say they are “very likely” to get vaccinated, compared to 39% of all adults in the United States, Black LGBTQ adults (29%), bi+ women (32%), bi+ adults (38%) and Latinx LGBTQ adults (38%) are less likely to say feel the same way. Additionally, 22% of LGBTQ adults and 24% of LGBTQ adults of color are currently unemployed. This was an overall 7 point increase from 15% for LGBTQ adults and 17% for LGBTQ adults of color since the November elections.

At the onset of the pandemic, the HRC Foundation (HRC) issued a brief on the elevated risks facing LGBTQ people. The report found that an estimated 40% of employed LGBTQ adults work in restaurants and food service, K-12 and higher education, or hospitals and retail - industries significantly impacted by the pandemic. Additionally, LGBTQ people and families are more likely than the general population to live in poverty and lack access to adequate medical care, paid medical leave, and basic necessities. As a result, LGBTQ people are at greater risk of negative economic consequences associated with the virus.

Building upon that research, HRC partnered with PSB Insights to track the economic impact of COVID-19 on the LGBTQ community. Using polling data from thousands of U.S. adults, HRC released 5 issue briefs throughout 2020 on the disparate economic impact of COVID-19 on LGBTQ people, LGBTQ people of color, transgender individuals, Black LGBTQ people, and Latinx LGBTQ people. Key findings from this research shows that LGBTQ people are economically struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic:

  • LGBTQ people in the United States are more likely than the general population to have experienced a cut in work hours, while both LGBTQ people and the general population have reported becoming unemployed.
  • LGBTQ people of color are more likely than their white counterparts to have lost work hours or become unemployed.
  • More than half of transgender (54%) and transgender people of color (58%) lost work hours, while 19% of transgender people and 26% of transgender people of color became unemployed.

Initial policies to reopen the economy largely failed to mend the economic wounds brought onto marginalized communities. HRC released research in September 2020 that examines the effects of reopening policies on LGBTQ people. The research shows that LGBTQ people continue to bear the brunt of the national economic fallout of the pandemic, even as some states initiate policies to reopen parts of the economy. The data suggests that LGBTQ people are still 30% more likely than the general population to have lost their jobs following the initial reopening of the economy. LGBTQ people were also 50% more likely and LGBTQ people of color were 150% more likely than the general population to have suffered a pay cut since a majority of states began initiating reopening policies.

HRC’s Covid-19 Reports


The Human Rights Campaign reports on news, events and resources of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation that are of interest to the general public and further our common mission to support the LGBTQ community.