Research on LGBTQ People and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Produced by the HRC Foundation

Last Updated 8/18/22

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, HRC Foundation has been actively engaged in research to monitor and understand the impact of the pandemic on the physical, mental, and financial well-being of the LGBTQ+ community throughout the United States.

At the beginning of the pandemic, HRC Foundation released a brief highlighting the potentially elevated risk for COVID-19 faced by LGBTQ+ Americans.

The Lives and Livelihoods of Many in the LGBTQ Community are at Risk Amidst COVID-19 Crisis” released in March 2020, found that an estimated 40% of employed LGBTQ adults were working 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 were 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 were hypothesized to be at a 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 throughout the first year of the pandemic.

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+ adults, finding that LGBTQ+ adults, particularly BIPOC LGBTQ+ adults and transgender adults, were more likely than the general population to have experienced a cut in work hours, and to have become unemployed as a result of the pandemic:

As states began their first stage of reopening during Summer 2020, additional research from HRC and PSB Insights published in August 2020 "COVID-19 Continues To Adversely Impact LGBTQ+ People While Initial Phases Of Reopening Create New Economic Problems," found that the negative economic consequences of the pandemic were persisting longer for LGBTQ+ adults than their cisgender and straight peers.

In 2021, HRC launched a new study, in conjunction with Community Marketing Insights (CMI), with efforts funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.

Approximately 1,700 LGBTQ+ adults were enrolled and surveyed up to three times (baseline/July 2021; wave 2/February 2022; wave 3/May 2022) in order to capture the changing economic and health impacts of the pandemic on the lives and well-being of LGBTQ+ adult. Research revealed that LGBTQ+ adults were significantly more likely than the general population to have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as well as were significantly more likely to have received at least one booster shot.

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.