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41,000 trans immigrants live in California; more likely to be impoverished, report poorer health

Approximately one-quarter of transgender immigrants live in poverty (27%), and two-thirds (68%) rent rather than own their homes.

Photo by Giovanni Calia from Pexels.com

A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that there are 174,200 transgender immigrants in the US and 41,000 transgender immigrants in California, comprising over one-quarter (27%) of the state’s adult transgender population.

Most (83%) of California’s transgender immigrants have lived in the US for more than 10 years. They are more likely than US-born transgender people to be older, people of color, married, and have children.

Using data from the California Health Interview Survey, researchers examined the demographic, socioeconomic, and health characteristics of transgender adult immigrants in California. Results show that approximately one-quarter of transgender immigrants live in poverty (27%), and two-thirds (68%) rent rather than own their homes.

“Organizations serving immigrant communities in California should ensure that services are inclusive of transgender people, and transgender-serving organizations must think about the unique needs of transgender immigrants,” said lead author Elana Redfield, Federal Policy Director at the Williams Institute. “Interventions that address economic insecurity, housing instability, and mental health are particularly needed for the state’s transgender immigrant community.”

KEY FINDINGS
Demographics

  • Half (50%) of transgender immigrants are ages 50 and up, compared to 14% of U.S.-born transgender people.
  • A little over half (53%) of transgender immigrants identify as heterosexual, 25% identify as bisexual, 10% as gay or lesbian, and 13% identify in some other way.
  • Fewer transgender immigrants are married than cisgender immigrants (31% vs. 61%); however, more are married than U.S.-born transgender people (13%).
  • Nearly three-quarters (72%) of transgender immigrants are people of color compared to just over half (52%) of U.S.-born transgender people.
    • Over one-third of transgender immigrants are Latinx (38%), one-third are non-Hispanic Asian (33%), and nearly one-third are white (29%).
  • Most transgender immigrants live in the Greater Bay Area (42%) or Southern California, other than Los Angeles (32%).
    • Transgender immigrants are less likely than cisgender immigrants to live in Los Angeles (13% vs. 33%).

Economic Well-Being and Health

  • Among people living below 200% of the federal poverty level, transgender immigrants are three times more likely to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) than cisgender immigrants (30% vs. 10%).
  • Fewer transgender than cisgender immigrants own their own homes (26% vs. 48%).
  • About one-third (33%) of transgender immigrants report poor or fair health.

“More research on transgender immigrants in California and across the US is needed, including research with large enough samples to access to examine access to identity documents, experiences with immigration officials and detention facilities, as well as violence and discrimination,” said co-author Kerith J. Conron, Research Director at the Williams Institute. “Research that explores differences in health and economic security of transgender immigrants by legal status would also be valuable.”

READ THE FULL REPORT HERE

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