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Homeownership Rates by Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity
FRB of St. Louis
2024.06.25
Homeownership is a key source of wealth for many American families and an important driver of broader economic activity (PDF). Yet, some demographic groups have persistently lower homeownership rates than others. This means they are not participating in this wealth-building channel to the same extent.
In our May 2024 American Economic Association paper, we found that adults identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer and/or questioning (LGBTQ+) had a homeownership rate that was 19 percentage points below that of their straight cisgender1Cisgender describes a person whose current gender identity corresponds to their sex assigned at birth (i.e., not transgender). (non-LGBTQ+) peers, at 53% versus 72%. LGBTQ+ adults were also more likely to have a mortgage as opposed to owning their homes outright.
We also found variability within the LGBTQ+ adult group: Transgender (trans) people and bisexual people had the lowest homeownership rates, while lesbian women had the highest. Disaggregating data by sexual orientation and gender identity2An individual’s sexual orientation and gender identity are viewed as separate and distinct. For a more thorough description of these terms, see the Human Rights Campaign’s glossary. revealed significant distinctions, but such disaggregation is rare in the literature because of data limitations. The U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, however, has a very large sample size and contains questions on both these characteristics.3Despite the dataset’s large sample size, response rates are low. As detailed in the Census Bureau’s technical documentation (PDF), weighting adjustments (as we do here) helps mitigate potential nonresponse bias, but results should be interpreted with caution. For additional information on the measurement of sexual orientation and gender identity, see this working paper (PDF) by the Census Bureau’s Thom File and Zachary Scherer. Using this source, we combined data from July 2021 to October 2023 to better understand homeownership and mortgage trends among LGBTQ+ subgroups.