Saturday, June 25, 2011

Census Bureau to Release Same-Sex Couple File

We are about to know a whole lot more about the nation's same-sex couples. Later this year, the Census Bureau will release the Same-sex Couple Households Summary File from the 2010 census, providing detailed geographical information on the number of same-sex couples as well as their marital status and other demographic characteristics.

The Census Bureau has been struggling almost as much as the nation's politicians with the issue of same-sex couples. In the Current Population Survey until 2010, according to bureau employees Daphne Lofquist and Renee Ellis, same-sex couples who reported that they were married were recoded as opposite-sex married couples. In 2010, the bureau changed the editing procedure and recoded them as same-sex unmarried partners. Now that the second largest state in the nation has legalized gay marriage, the editing procedure will have to change again.

The Census Bureau has been collecting information on same-sex couple households through the American Community Survey since 2005. The latest data, from 2009, counted 581,300 households in the United States headed by same-sex spouses or partners. This compares with 5,920,821 households headed by unmarried opposite-sex partners, and 55,811,477 headed by opposite-sex married couples.

Source: Census Bureau, Families and Living Arrangements data, scroll down to the Same-Sex Couples section.

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