We all know the stereotype of the typical gay man — uber-successful, well-dressed fellows strolling around P-town, Fire Island and other glamorous haute spots. This pervasive image is double-edged, though, because it fails to acknowledge that just like any other demographic, the population of both gays and lesbians includes those toiling below the poverty line as well as those prospering at the highest echelons.
What interests me most are couples, however. To get an accurate view of the state of gay household finances, I headed over to a new report from the U.S. Department of the Treasurythat provides a fairly accurate financial assessment of same-sex marrieds in the U.S.
I’m happy to announce that gay married men, making on average $176,000 per annum as a couple, clock in at 56 percent ahead of the income of our married straight counterparts. And really big winners of the income-earning contest are gay married couples with children who bring in a whopping $276,000 a year on average. (Of course, DINK — double income, no kids — gay couples lead the way in disposable income, of which, in my opinion, they’re disposing way too much and not saving enough, but that’s another story.)
Female couples aren’t doing too poorly either, bringing in a household average of $124,000, which puts them financially ahead of the average straight married couple, who earn a yearly $113,000. Of course, nothing justifies the egregious gender pay gap that we’ll also be exploring in more depth in the future.
So what gives? How do we explain the significant income disparities between married heterosexual couples and married same-sex couples? The Treasury Department’s report offers some trenchant insights:
A large proportion of same-sex couples flock to major metropolitan areas — sophisticated seats of power and centers of media, culture, and consumerism — many of which are located on the coasts. These places tend to have higher cost of living but at the same time are the locus for jobs offering commensurate higher pay. Of course gay folks live everywhere but we are significantly better represented in what some would describe as more desirable cities that are, as it happens, the most gay-friendly as well. Would you rather live in Manhattan, L.A., Miami or San Francisco versus, say, the stomping grounds of Christian supremacist V.P.-elect Mike Pence in Indianapolis or homophobic Pat “The Great Discriminator” McCrory’s Raleigh, N.C.? (No offense to the good people of Charlotte and other towns who worked so diligently to enact LGBT rights ordinances.)
Tag: Gay Money
These days, it seems just about everybody is after that rainbow dollar.
And the recent federal ruling by the Supreme Court to allow same-sex marriage in all 50 states will only further the expansion of cities, both large and small, marketing toward the gay community, which represents an estimated $70 billion travel market, or around six to eight percent of the entire travel market.
GRAND RAPIDS, MI — There are 37 states with marriage equality and the fact that Michigan isn’t one of them hurts the tourism industry’s bottom line, said a market researcher at the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism this week.
“Whatever percentage of Michigan’s business now is weddings, it could be increased by including LGBTs. Certainly within the state but those who have family here, etc. I think that there’s a lot of opportunity,” said Thomas Roth, president of San Francisco-based Community Marketing, Inc.
He presented a session at the conference, making the business case to hotels interested in marketing to LGBT people.
In a September 2014 survey CMI conducted, they asked 3,503 members of the LGBT community about their travel habits.
No Michigan cities ranked in a top 20 list of leisure destinations for gay and bisexual men. No Michigan cities ranked in the top 20 for lesbian and bisexual women, either.
Wedding travel aside, Michigan is missing out on general LGBT leisure travel due to its marriage prohibition, Roth said.
“So it’s a double-edged sword because on one hand you’re not getting that (wedding) business. On the other hand gays and lesbians are probably not coming here for holiday or vacation as much as they would because it’s not an inclusive state when there’s 37 other choices, right?” Roth said.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed into law on Thursday morning the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a political move business leaders within the state had voiced fierce opposition to in the days surrounding the Indiana legislature’s passage of the bill on Monday and it being sent to the governor for his signature.
The new law allows businesses to use an owner’s faith as a reason to refuse service to customers, including same-sex married couples. The risks from the act range from potential workplace lawsuits on religious grounds to a broader and deeper business chill in the Hoosier State, with money-making conferences and major corporations threatening to pull out, difficulty attracting key job creators like tech sector companies and a wide-ranging ripple effect on small-business owners.
The governor’s move comes during a sensitive period of time for Indiana’s economy—it has shown signs of a small-business boom in recent years, and has fared relatively well in job creation and new-company formation, but is also seeking to break out from the sluggish growth that has typified the post-crisis economic recovery
After surveying thousands of LGBT consumers around the country, brand-tracking company BrandIndex has announced the most gay-friendly brand, according to how customers perceive the company: This year’s top honor goes to discount warehouse store Costco. Last year Costco was on the list at number 14.
YouGov’s BrandIndex tracks real-time feedback, discussion, and social media buzz for individual brands and once a year compiles a top 100 ranking of the best brands, broken down by audience and market sector. Other top-ranking brands for LGBT consumers include Netflix, Panera Bread, Trader Joe’s, and YouTube rounding out the top five.
According to BrandIndex, companies were scored based on how LGBT people responded to the question, “If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?”
Based on the positive and negative reviews, each company was then scored between 100 and -100, allowing BrandIndex to account for substantial shifts in public perception.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Just a few hours after state lawmakers approved same-sex marriage in Illinois, Chicago wedding planner Lindsay Parrott started getting her first inquiries for summer weddings.
“I got an email at 11 p.m.,” she said. “Everybody is really excited to be able to do this.”
From the wedding industry to tourism, Illinois businesses are gearing up for June 1, the first day that same-sex marriage licenses can be issued under legislation approved by lawmakers on Tuesday. While legislators in favor and the state’s top elected officials have touted gay marriage as a matter of equality and civil rights, businesses hope the start of weddings will be a nice boost to the state’s economy too. But that start date — which falls on a Sunday — also is causing some logistical problems for the state’s county clerks who’ll be issuing marriage licenses.
Illinois is set to become the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage when Gov. Pat Quinn signs the bill, which the Chicago Democrat said Wednesday he’ll do with a festive celebration this month. The measure says that starting June 1, all Illinois couples can go about the usual way of getting married: Head to the county clerk’s office, get a license and then have it officiated a day later by the government or religious official.
However, businesses and tourism officials say it means that Illinois can expand a niche business too. They cite a 2013 study by UCLA’s The Williams Institute that says allowing same-sex couples to marry in Illinois would generate up to $103 million in new spending in the first three years.
The Illinois Office of Tourism beefed up its website Wednesday to promote gay-friendly spots in Illinois. State travel director Jen Hoelzle said the site will soon include a list of places to get married once the bill is signed. The Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau, which already promotes Chicago’s gay-friendly neighborhoods and events such as the city’s massive Pride Parade, expects more hotel and restaurant business.
Brands from Apple to Budweiser to JCPenney are becoming more interested in gay consumers, with many brands making concerted efforts to target the LGBT market.
Why? What is really at stake? Here are just a few numbers surrounding LGBT consumers and the differences in spending power of gay households vs. the American general market:
23% higher median household income1
24% more equity in their homes1
26% of gay men say they will pay more for top quality brands2
30% have taken a major vacation in the past year2
40% bought a new smart phone in the past year2
Estimates put the buying power of the LGBT community at over $800 billion annually. Some marketers are realizing that they may need to adjust their plans to accommodate this segment, or at least make sure that their marketing spending is inclusive of this valuable target. But many brands have been slow to pick up on the impact of the gay and lesbian consumer on their sales. Some are content to let their general market messages do the job of reaching everyone, and see no reason to pay special attention to LGBT consumers.
Barilla Pasta stepped on a landmine this week telling Italian media the company would never feature or market directly to gay couples. If they had a problem with that, said its chairman, they could eat another brand of pasta.
I pity the fool who messes with the purchasing power of the LGBT community.
The remarks as widely reported, were made by Guido Barilla on La Zanzara, an Italian radio program.
I would never make a spot with a homosexualfamily. Not out of a lack of respect but because I do not see it like they do. (My idea of) family is a classic family where the woman has a fundamental role.
He went even further saying, “Ours is a classic family where the woman plays a fundamental role. If [gays] don’t like it, they can go eat another brand,” according to a Reuters translation.
Competitor Bertolli Germany lost little time presenting itself as that very option, as told by AdWeek. Posting a photo and caption that translates to “pasta and love for all” on its Facebook page and resurrecting a commercialfrom 2011 featuring gay couples.
When it comes to economic development, it is not unusual for some chief executives of states to sneak across a border or two to try to poach some jobs. The usual pitch, however, involves tax breaks, available land and a well-trained workforce.
But Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak is counting on love to make a difference.
As part of his “I Want to Marry You in Minneapolis” tour, Rybak on Thursday went to a predominantly gay neighborhood in Chicago to remind people that they can visit their nearby neighbor of Minnesota for a while, or at least long enough to marry, because same-sex marriage has been legal since Aug. 1.
Illinois does not allow same-sex marriages, and nor do the other states, Colorado and Wisconsin, that the mayor plans on visiting soon to drum up business.
“Chicago is my kind of town, but it’s a second city in human rights, and right now that gives a tremendous competitive advantage to Minneapolis,” Rybak said.