Survey: LGBTQ Poverty In Midwest Higher Than National Average

Caitlin Rooney, a researcher for the Center for American Progress, speaks at Cleveland Food Bank
Caitlin Rooney, a researcher for the Center for American Progress, speaks at the Cleveland Food Bank. [Marlene Harris-Taylor / ideastream]
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A survey of LGBTQ Midwesterners and their families finds they are more likely to receive public assistance than non-LGBTQ people. 

Caitlin Rooney, a researcher for the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress, spoke Tuesday to Cleveland health and nonprofit leaders about poverty in the LGBTQ community.

The image of the upper middle class white male gay couple has been shaped by television and movies, said Rooney. The true picture is much different, she said. 

“LGBTQ people are more likely to be people of color. They are more likely to be young, but there are LGBTQ people of every race, every gender. They’re everywhere across the country,” she said.

LGBTQ Ohioans face greater economic hardships than others in the state, and they are more likely to be unemployed, lack health insurance, and face food insecurity, according to data from the Willliams Institute, a UCLA think tank.

Because of these disparities, Rooney said there is concern about proposed work requirements for Medicaid and SNAP, also known as food stamps, which may push some people off those programs.

“LGBTQ people in the Midwest are 3.8 times more likely to receive SNAP than non-LGBTQ people. So if we are seeing these sort of attacks on SNAP that are going to impact people across the country, we know it’s very likely LGBTQ people are going to be disproportionally hurt,” Rooney said.

The Trump administration  recently approved a plan for Ohio to enact work requirements for people on Medicaid.  She said government data predicts some 18,000 people in Ohio will likely be impacted by the change, including a large number of LGBTQ people.

Ohio is currently evaluating its work requirements after a federal judge blocked the rule in two other states.

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