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Educational and economic outcomes of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Canada: A closer look at Canadian-born, immigrant and racialized populations

Released: 2023-04-19

Using data from combined cycles of the Canadian Community Health Survey (2015 to 2018), a new article released today provides an overview of ethnocultural and linguistic diversity among the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) population in Canada. The release also takes a closer look at the educational and economic outcomes of Canadian-born, immigrant and racialized LGB individuals to better understand inequities experienced by different segments of the population. Data on respondents reporting an Indigenous identity are not included in this study.

Canadian-born gay or lesbian people are more likely to hold a university degree than their heterosexual counterparts

Among the overall Canadian-born population aged 25 to 64 years, gay or lesbian people (38.0%) were more likely to hold a bachelor's degree or higher when compared with their heterosexual counterparts (28.3%). Conversely, a larger share of immigrants held a university degree than their Canadian-born counterparts, regardless of sexual orientation. More than half of gay or lesbian immigrants (55.0%) and nearly half of bisexual (49.6%) and heterosexual (45.8%) immigrants aged 25 to 64 years had at least a bachelor's degree, a higher percentage than that of Canadian-born people of the same sexual orientations.

Canadian-born bisexual people—both racialized and non-racialized—have lower median employment incomes than their heterosexual and gay or lesbian counterparts

Among the Canadian-born population aged 25 to 64 years who worked full-time in the week before the survey, heterosexual people had the highest median annual employment income ($58,000). Gay or lesbian individuals earned lower median incomes ($50,100) than their heterosexual counterparts, while bisexual people had the lowest earnings ($38,800) among the Canadian-born population of the same age group.

When the results were disaggregated by racialized and non-racialized populations (see Note to readers), the earnings disparity seen among bisexual people aged 25 to 64 years persisted. That is, Canadian-born bisexual people—both racialized and non-racialized—had less favourable economic outcomes than their heterosexual and gay or lesbian counterparts.

No difference in median earnings between immigrants of different sexual orientations

While Canadian-born LGB individuals had lower median employment incomes relative to heterosexual people, results showed a somewhat different pattern among the immigrant population. The comparative advantage of Canadian-born heterosexual people was not seen for heterosexual immigrants, who had similar earnings to LGB immigrants. There were no statistically significant differences in median earnings across immigrants of different sexual orientations among full-time workers aged 25 to 64 years.

Disparities in employment income were only evident when comparing racialized and non-racialized immigrants. Non-racialized heterosexual and gay or lesbian immigrants had more favourable economic outcomes than racialized immigrants of all sexual orientations. This was because of the generally lower annual median income of racialized heterosexual ($45,000) and gay or lesbian ($42,400) immigrants, which was similar to that of racialized bisexual immigrants ($40,700).

The analysis explored other factors that may have an effect on economic outcomes. The LGB population, the bisexual population in particular, was younger on average than the heterosexual population. However, the earnings gaps among the groups studied remained after taking age and educational attainment into account.

  Note to readers

This study was funded by Women and Gender Equality Canada. It is the final article of a series that uses Canadian Community Health Survey data (2015 to 2018) to fill a gap in socioeconomic data on the lesbian, gay and bisexual population in Canada. The series includes a data table and thematic articles on Labour and economic characteristics of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Canada, Educational participation and attainment of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Canada, and Family and household characteristics of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Canada.

In this release, data on the "racialized population" are measured with the "visible minority" variable. The term "visible minority" refers to whether a person belongs to one of the visible minority groups defined by the Employment Equity Act.

The term "immigrant" refers to a person who is or has been a landed immigrant or permanent resident. Such a person has been granted the right to live in Canada permanently by immigration authorities. Immigrants who have obtained Canadian citizenship by naturalization are included in this group.

The sample used for the employment income portion of this study includes respondents aged 25 to 64 years who were employed full time at a job or business in the week preceding the survey, with earnings from wages or self-employment over $1,000 in the previous year. Employment income data from the previous year were used in the analysis. Income amounts were averaged over the 2015-to-2018 period and adjusted to 2015 dollars. Amounts presented were rounded to the nearest 100.

Further details about the data and other concepts used can be found in the article.


The article "Ethnocultural diversity among lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Canada: An overview of educational and economic outcomes" which is part of Just the Facts (89-28-0001), is now available.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (

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