Journal of Labor Research

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 41–55 | Cite as

Sexual Orientation, Labour Earnings, and Household Income in Canada

  • Maryam Dilmaghani


Using five cycles of a large nationally representative Canadian health survey, covering 2008 to 2012, the present paper examines the extent of labour earnings and household income gaps among gays, lesbians, and heterosexuals. The data used in this paper has the advantage of allowing for a direct classification of sexual orientation, through respondent self-identification. In accord with previous reports, this paper finds that homosexual females holding fulltime employment earn statistically significantly above comparable heterosexual females. Homosexual males with fulltime employment, on the other hand, are found no different in their earnings, from otherwise identical heterosexual males. When household income is considered, data reveal that lesbian households have statistically significantly lower incomes compared with otherwise identical gay households, who outearn heterosexuals as well. This pattern, not previously reported for Canada but observed in some other countries, is likely due to the combined effects of the general gender wage gap, the fading of homosexual males’ wage penalty, and the existence of two male income earners in a gay male household.


Sexual orientation Wage gap Household income gap Canada 

JEL Classification

J1 J7 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Funding Source

Research was not funded.

Conflict of Interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsSaint Mary’s UniversityHalifaxCanada

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