According to several recent surveys from Gallup, a leading research and analytics firm, there are many LGBTQ+ health disparities that exist in our country. LGBTQ+ individuals on average report lower levels of well-being and are also less likely to be insured.
While there are some silver linings in the results, the overall picture is unfortunately still sobering. Let's take a deeper look at what they found.
LGBTQ+ Americans report lower well-being
Gallup measures well-being from results of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey. The results are delivered on a scale of 0 to 100 with higher scores correlating to higher well-being. The survey questions focus on the following five areas: purpose, social, financial, community and physical.
The survey reports that LGBTQ+ Americans have an average Well-Being Index score of 58 compared to 62 for non-LGBTQ+ adults. According to Gallup, these results were unaffected even when taking into account the effects of gender, age, race and ethnicity, educational attainment, state of residence, and population density. LGBTQ+ individuals lagged in all five categories of well-being.
As we can see, the difference is particularly stark between LGBTQ+ women and non-LGBTQ+ women. These discoveries are based on 2,964 interviews with LGBTQ+ adults and 81,134 interviews with non-LGBTQ+ adults conducted Jan. 1-June 23, 2014, as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey. Check out the full Gallup report for a more detailed look and deeper analysis on the five individual categories.
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LGBTQ+ more likely to be uninsured
Gallup also released another recent report in which they discovered LGBTQ+ Americans are less likely to have health insurance than their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts. Rates of individuals without insurance were 4.4% higher than non-LGBTQ+ Americans. The good news coming out of this survey is that the percentage of uninsured LGBTQ+ individuals decreased from 23.7% in the previous quarter to 17.6%.
This quick and drastic decrease is largely a result of the Affordable Care Act. It is important to note that this also had an effect on the non-LGBTQ+ population. Although their decrease was not quite as significant, it shows that there are still many underlying disparities that must be addressed in order to close the gaps between our population segments.
The bottom line
Health and wellness for the LGBTQ+ community in this country are consistently lacking across the board. While Gallup was able to give us the synopsis of the story, they still can't give us the full picture of why these LGBTQ+ health disparities exist.
According to Gallup, population-based health and well-being data sources rarely measure sexual orientation and gender identity. They are calling for an increase in the quality of data that is being collected in order to help researchers, policymakers and healthcare providers better understand and address the roots of the problem.