How gays are coping with falling economy
While many American households cut spending and shift consumer priorities to cope with tough, new economic realities, an online national survey has found marked differences in responses based on gender and sexual orientation.
The survey by Harris Interactive found 55 percent of all U.S. adults indicate that the economic downturn will affect them.
Among some groups, though, the economic downturn is perceived to have more influence. For example, when asked to think about their own personal circumstances today, 3 out of 4 adult lesbians said they feel the impact of the severe economic downturn will affect individuals and households like theirs more than others.
In contrast, this opinion was held by 60 percent of heterosexual women and 55 percent of gay men. When asked about spending for entertainment generally, over four out of 10 lesbians said they likely will reduce their spending, in contrast to fewer than a quarter of gay men.
Similarly, when asked about plans to take a vacation from home lasting more than a week, a clear majority - 56 percent - of heterosexual adults said they were not at all likely to do so within the next 6 months. That compared to 42 percent of gay and lesbian adults who agreed. As for gay men, 39 percent said they were not at all likely to take a vacation compared to more than half of heterosexual men.
The nationwide survey of 2,449 U.S. adults aged 18 and over, of whom 232 self-identified as gay or lesbian (which includes an oversample of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults), was conducted online between Oct. 20 and 27, 2008 by Harris Interactive, a global market research and consulting firm, in conjunction with Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc., a public relations and marketing communications firm with special expertise in the LGBT market.
“In light of this historic, severe recession, very few Americans remain unscathed. All consumers must make tougher choices on spending, saving and investing – and our findings highlight some of these personal trade-offs,” said Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications.
“Gay households are hardly immune, and demographic research confirms that GLBT consumers are not more affluent than others.” said Witeck. “However, we see lesbians once again showing more vulnerability than gay men, and while gay men also are scaling back in spending options, it is less so than heterosexual households. Not surprisingly, while more same-sex households, especially women are raising children, proportionately more gay male households remain childless and therefore may feel somewhat freer to make choices in today’s tight economy.”
Avalon Media wonders if the book sales of Suze Orman, America’s top finance adviser and author who recently came out as a lesbian, will benefit from the growing financial concern.