Lesbians who never married make more money than previously married lesbians and straight women, suggests Census data.
The findings, based on the 2000 Census, have concluded that never-married lesbians earned roughly 7.5 percent more than never-married singles, 9.6 percent more than previously married singles, and 5 percent more than currently married women, reports ABC News.
The average wage of a lesbian was 18.70 dollars per hour while the average hourly wage of cohabitating heterosexual females was 13.35 dollars.
The earnings of previously married lesbian partners, on the other hand, were not statistically different from the wages earned by married women.
Nasser Daneshvary, of the University of Nevada and two other economics professors-Jeff Waddoups and Brad Wimmer-chose to research the topic because they had studied labor market discrimination focused on differences in such demographic characteristics as race, ethnicity, gender and immigrant status.
Kevin Jones, of Out and Equal Workplace Advocates, a national nonprofit addressing GLBT issues at work, cautioned that passing generalizations about any community is dangerous territory.
"Many of my female colleagues in the financial services world were aggressive and not lesbians," said Jones.
Daneshvary has also debunked another theory that lesbians may be able to work longer hours and earn more because they are less likely to have children at home.
"We did test to see the affect of children, but it wasn't there. In other words, in comparing lesbians and heterosexuals who have children, the children don't have impact," said Daneshvary.
Meanwhile, Gary Gates, a demographer with the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA, clarified that the higher wages lesbian women tend to receive were specific to older, white women.
"In past research, you don't see a wage premium in younger lesbians or African-American and Latina lesbians. You don't necessarily see non-white lesbian women making more than non-white heterosexual women," said Gates.
The article 'Previous Marriage and the Lesbian Wage Premium,' was published in the economics journal Industrial Relations in 2009.