Washington, D.C. — June 10, 2015 — The combined buying power of the U.S. lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ( LGBT ) adult population for 2014 was estimated at $884 billion, according to an updated analysis by Witeck Communications.
Releasing the latest projection, Bob Witeck said, "Buying power estimates help paint one snapshot of the overlooked economic contributions made by America's diverse gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender households in our dynamic economy."
Witeck also emphasized that, "Buying power is not the same as wealth. In fact, there is no evidence that same-sex households or LGBT people are more affluent or, on average, earn more than others. Economists confirm that is a stereotype, as academic research strongly suggests that gay men appear likely to earn slightly less than their heterosexual counterparts, for instance and that LGBT populations of color particularly face many job and earnings barriers."Witeck specifically cited the work of the UCLA School of Law's Williams Center and the National Center for Transgender Equality that document regrettably higher incidence of bias and economic disparity faced by transgender adults, too: "Time and again, studies show that transgender people face unacceptably high rates of discrimination in all areas of life, especially in employment and health care."
Disposable personal income ( DPI ) — also known as buying power — according to economists, is the amount of money that individuals ( or households ) have available to spend and save after paying taxes and pension contributions to the government ( roughly 86% of income ).
"LGBT buying power is an economic marker that helps benchmark America's diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community," said Justin Nelson, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce ( NGLCC ) Co-Founder and President. "At NGLCC, we have more than 150 corporate partners that understand not only the value of the LGBT dollar, but the economics of inclusivity and loyalty."
Bob Witeck cautioned not to oversimplify the LGBT economy and marketplace by noting, "The accelerating movement towards marriage equality, the rising tide of public opinion, and changing federal and state laws help address some of the longstanding discriminatory burdens that LGBT people and same-sex couples face today. On the other hand, LGBT Americans and our allies still must address critical nondiscrimination safeguards under law, repair costly tax inequities, put right a complex set of inadequate relationship and parental rights, and dismantle barriers to public safety net programs that other married couples and their families today enjoy."
Based on a diverse range of LGBT population estimates, and by evaluating more than a hundred online population samples conducted by the expert Harris Poll over more than a decade, the 2014 estimate reflects roughly 6 to 7% of the adult U.S. population as willing to self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender ( or roughly 16 million-plus adults ( 18 years of age and older ) in 2014. Witeck observed that social science tends to be more conservative, and suggests slightly lower population targets. Nonetheless, demographers also acknowledge that a significant proportion of the LGBT population remains hidden not merely from public view but also resistant to many traditional, investigatory methods.
The general approach used for estimating buying power also reflects the accepted path applied by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia in its calculation of the purchasing power of populations such as Hispanics, Asian Americans and African Americans. This methodology uses national aggregate disposable income data that are compiled by the Bureau of Economic Analysis ( BEA ) of the U.S. Department of Commerce and are therefore considered the most authoritative picture of overall purchasing power in the United States. LGBT purchasing power is understood by estimating a proportion of aggregate disposable personal income ( DPI ) to the population range of LGBT-self identified adults.
Since 1993, Bob Witeck has provided expert knowledge, trend reports and communications counsel to Fortune 500 companies on their strategies to understand and connect with LGBT households and families.
About Witeck Communications, Inc.
Witeck Communications, Inc. ( www.witeck.com ) is a leading strategic communications firm, specializing in outreach, respect and inclusion for diverse LGBT communities and an LGBT-owned company certified by the National Lesbian & Gay Chamber of Commerce. With two decades experience in this arena, Witeck Communications not only serves as a bridge between corporate America and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender consumers ( LGBT ), but also provides counsel to non-profit organizations that aim to educate the public on gay and lesbian issues or to better reach their LGBT audiences.
In April 2003, American Demographics magazine identified Bob Witeck one of 25 experts over the last 25 years who has made significant contributions to the fields of demographics, market research, media and trend spotting for his pathbreaking work on the gay and lesbian market. His co-authored book, "Business Inside Out: Capturing Millions of Brand Loyal Gay Customers" was published in the fall of 2006 by Kaplan Publishing. He has appeared in worldwide media outlets including Fortune, CNBC, Daily Telegraph, CNN, Reuters, Associated Press, Ad Age, the New York Times and the Washington Post.
About the NGLCC
The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is the business voice of the LGBT community and is the largest global not-for-profit advocacy organization specifically dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people. NGLCC is the exclusive certification body for LGBT owned businesses. Learn more at www.nglcc.org .