New data offers first demographic picture of same-sex couples
The Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA Law analyzed newly released data by the U.S Census Bureau that offers the first demographic picture of same-sex couples.
Advancing critical thought in the field of sexual orientation law and public policy, the Williams Institute analyzed the newly released data from the 2008 American Community Survey (ACS). The study is the first to examine both differences and similarities among same-sex couples and married different sex couples in the ACS.
More than one-quarter of the estimated 565,000 same-sex couples in the United States designated themselves as spouses. Same-sex spouses were reported in every state.
"While nearly 150,000 same-sex couples consider themselves to be spouses, we estimate that 32,000 same-sex couples were legally married in the United States by the end of 2008," said Gary J. Gates, the Williams Distinguished Scholar and the study's author. Some couples may have had religious ceremonies or commitment ceremonies, others may be in civil unions or registered domestic partnerships, and some may simply believe themselves to have a marriage-like relationship regardless of their legal relationship status.
The report finds that same-sex spouses are more common in states that permit marriage for same-sex couples or some form of legal recognition. For example, Massachusetts, in which same-sex have been able to legally marry since 2004, has 3.63 same-sex spousal couples per 1,000 households, the most of any state.
When comparing same-sex spouses to same-sex unmarried couples and to married different-sex couples, the report finds many similarities between same-sex and different-sex spouses. They are similar in terms of age, education, household income, and home-ownership rates.
According to WashingtonBlade, The U.S. Census Bureau is making an effort to include same-sex couples in the overall picture of household marital status in next year's national population count. Due to statistical problems in development of the 2010 Census form, they will again be added into the category for 'unmarried partners' as they were for the 2000 Census.
The full report is available at The Williams Institute UCLA School of Law
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