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April 1, 2020 – An estimated 162,300 LGB and 9,000 transgender people age 65 and older live in California and are at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19, according to the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.

The California Department of Public Health has associated high risk with people age 65 and older and those with compromised immune systems or serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease. Using data from the California Health Interview Survey, researchers found that 53,100 LGB people and 3,000 transgender people in California age 65 and older have fair or poor health.

“Social and economic vulnerabilities can also contribute to an increased risk of serious illness related to COVID-19,” said lead author Ilan H. Meyer, Distinguished Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute. “In addition to age and health, California’s public health measures should consider these factors, as many elderly LGB and transgender people in the state live alone and in poverty and may need special assistance.”

KEY FINDINGS

  • 162,300 LGB people (93,300 men and 69,000 women) and 9,000 transgender people age 65 and older live in California
  • 53,100 LGB people (4,000 men and 19,000 women) and 3,000 transgender people age 65 and older in the state have fair or poor health
  • Asthma: 27,000 LGB people (12,800 men and 14,200 women) and 2,000 transgender people age 65 and older have asthma
  • Diabetes: 43,300 LGB people (30,300 men and 13,000 women) and 1,000 transgender people age 65 and older people have diabetes
  • Heart Disease: 34,400 LGB people, including 18,900 men and 15,500 women, and 2,000 transgender people age 65 and older have heart disease
  • 64,600 LGB people age 65 and older (44,100 men and 20,500 women) and 3,000 transgender people in California live alone
  • 40,700 gay/bisexual men, 23,000 lesbian/bisexual women, and 6,000 transgender people age 65 and older live below 200% of the federal poverty level 

Read the brief

The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, a think tank on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy, is dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research with real-world relevance.