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The Williams Institute

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LGBT Asian and Pacific Islander Individuals and Same-Sex Couples


An estimated 325,000 or 2.8% of all Asian and Pacific Islander (API) adults in the United States identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). Nationally, API LGBT individuals have lower rates of employment and academic achievement than their non-LGBT counterparts. Nearly 33,000 API LGBT individuals are in same-sex couples, a third of which live in California, Hawaii and New York.

Overall, the 33,000 API individuals in same-sex couples are doing better. However, detailed data analysis reveals vulnerable LGBT subgroups including Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians, female same-sex couples, couples where both partners are API and couples with children. These groups tend to experience lower rates of health insurance coverage, lower academic achievement, higher rates of noncitizenship status, and higher rates of unemployment than other API couples.

API individuals in same-sex couples are more likely to be born in the U.S. than API individuals in different sex couples (35% versus 13%). The top three countries of origin reported for API individuals in same-sex couples born outside the U.S. are the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. API individuals in same-sex couples are more likely to be a U.S. citizen than their counterparts in different-sex couples (81% versus 68%). One in five API same-sex couples are binational (include one citizen and one non-citizen).

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