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The truth about gays and money

When gays and lesbians are featured in popular culture, what do we see? White, wealthy women who host talk shows or affluent men doting on their kids -- like Mitchell and Cameron from "Modern Family." So it’s no wonder that the conventional wisdom is that gay people in America have tons of money and fewer economic struggles than the rest of the population.

But the truth is significantly different.

“I think people are surprised there are any poor gay people,” says M.V. Lee Badgett, professor of economics and research director for The Williams Institute, a national think tank at UCLA Law School researches sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy. “This ‘myth of gay affluence’ has been around for a long time. It gets in the way of people even imagining that LGBT people can be poor.”

On Monday, the Williams Institute will release a detailed study about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their real economic status. Drawing on recent data from four different sources, the report finds a sexual orientation “poverty gap”: LGBT Americans are more likely to be poor than heterosexuals, with African-Americans and women particularly vulnerable.

Badgett spoke with NBC News about the results of the study, "The Gay Affluence Myth: New Research on LGBT Poverty." To read the full story, click HERE.