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Lesbian poverty woes significant, experts say

A higher percentage of lesbian couples live below the poverty rate than married heterosexual couples and even coupled gay men, according to a new study from UCLA law school's Williams Institute.

That, Pittsburgh-based experts say, may be the real-world disadvantage of being both lesbian and female -- forced to deal with financial and legal roadblocks faced both by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender -- or LGBT -- community and by the fact that women across the overall population tend to earn less than their male counterparts.

The UCLA study researchers looked at four data sets, including a 2010 survey of same-sex couples, a 2007-09 California health interview study and a Gallup tracking poll done last year.

The study found that 7.6 percent of lesbian couples live in poverty, which is higher than the 5.7 percent rate for married heterosexual couples and the 4.3 percent for coupled gay men.

In 2012, the poverty line for a two-person household was $15,079, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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