Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-04-01
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



2010 Census shows dramatic upsurge in same-sex couples
News update posted Wed., June 22, 2011
by Lisa Keen, Keen News Service

facebook twitter stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

U.S. Census 2010 data on same-sex couples has begun trickling out and, if the first two states are any measure, there are dramatically more same-sex couples in the United States than previously counted.

The U.S. Census Bureau is releasing 2010 data state-by-state on a rolling basis. It released numbers for the first two states—Alabama and Hawaii—June 16. The Williams Institute, a nationally respected public policy research organization focused on issues related to sexual orientation, released "snapshots" of the data related to same-sex couple households.

The data show that, in 2010 in Alabama, the Census Bureau found 11,259 households headed by same-sex couples. That number is 3,150 ( or 39 percent ) more than in 2000, when the Census Bureau found 8,109 same-sex unmarried partner households in Alabama.

In 2010 in Hawaii, the Census Bureau found 4,248 households headed by a same-sex couple—1,859 ( or 78 percent ) more than the 2,389 same-sex unmarried partner households reported in 2000.

The data released thus far this year by the Census Bureau reports all same-sex couple households, regardless of whether they are legally married, in a legally recognized civil union or domestic partnership, or in a relationship that has not been formalized by law.

Gary Gates, the lead author of the "snapshot" analysis, said the Census Bureau is expected to provide a breakdown of the data of just same-sex married couples later this year. But he said that breakdown will not be an accurate reflection of how many same-sex couples have marriage licenses because some same-sex couples identify themselves as being "husband or wife" even if they do not have a marriage license.

Gates said the dramatic contrast between the 2000 and 2010 Census numbers in Alabama and Hawaii is a "fair comparison" and, in fact, might even been an understated one. That's because, compared to 2000, the Census Bureau, says Gates, has done better job "correcting" the 2010 numbers for the likelihood that some heterosexual married people accidentally check off the wrong gender for their spouse.

However, he said comparing 2000 and 2010 Census data concerning same-sex couples is, nevertheless, riddled with caveats.

The Census Bureau has, over the years, repeatedly changed how it processes data concerning same-sex couples. Up until 2000, the Bureau counted any same-sex couple who identified themselves as married as a mistake—and re-counted them as heterosexual married couples. Also, technically speaking, no jurisdiction was issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples until Massachusetts did in 2004.

However, there have been political changes, too. Although most states still ban legal recognition of marriages between same-sex couples, five states and the District of Columbia have started issuing marriage licenses to such couples. A dozen states—including, starting this month, Illinois— provide legal recognition of civil unions or domestic partnerships. And, polls have indicated the general public's hostility toward allowing gays to marry is declining.

Gates credits the Census Bureau with "slowing improving" the process by which it counts same-sex couples.

"In the last two years," he said, "they have devoted some serious resources to trying to fix this. They've started the process of testing different core questions about households and marital status. We won't see the results for several years, but it's a really big deal."

Only 145,130 same-sex unmarried partners were identified in the 1990 Census, when the bureau first began separating out data of same-sex couples from heterosexual couples who identified as unmarried partners. In 2000, 594,391 same-sex couples identified as unmarried partners. A national count for 2010 will be released by the Census Bureau later this year.

It was just months into President Obama's first year in office, June 2009, when the administration indicated it would have the Census provide a separate count of same-sex married couples.

The 2010 Census was the first time in the nation's history when a same-sex couple could actually hold a marriage license and thus accurately identify themselves as "married" on the decennial survey. Prior to 2004, when Massachusetts began issuing licenses to same-sex couples, no states issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Now, five states—Massachusetts, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Connecticut— and the District of Columbia do. All six jurisdictions had legalized same-sex marriage before the 2010 Census surveys went out.

An additional 18,000 same-sex couples hold valid marriage licenses in California. They were obtained in 2008 before a statewide ballot initiative ( Proposition 8 ) amended the state constitution to ban same-sex marriages. That amendment is still under challenge in federal court.

The decision to start counting same-sex married couples did not necessitate any change in the 2010 Census form, but simply called for taking a separate notice of couples in which Person 1 identified a same-sex Person 2 on his or her Census form as either a "husband or wife" or an "unmarried partner."

Census data about any minority group can have important impact. The data can be used to justify programs, illustrate the need for legislation, and give a sense of size for a particular voting bloc. They also counter a general tendency toward simply ignoring the existence of same-sex couples and families.

The 2010 data for Alabama shows that 60 percent of the same-sex couples are female; 40 percent male. Most ( 73 percent ) are not raising children; 27 percent are. Female couples appear to be concentrated on the western border of the state, while the male couples are concentrated on the east. Statewide, there are almost six same-sex couples for every 1,000 households in the state. Birmingham hosts the largest concentration, with about 1o same-sex couples per 1,000 households.

The 2010 data for Hawaii shows that 53 percent of the same-sex couples are female; 47 percent male. Most ( 77 percent ) are not raising children; 23 percent are. Statewide, there are more than nine same-sex couples for every 1,000 households in the state. Hawaiian Paradise Park, a small town on the Big Island's eastern coast, hosts the largest concentration, with more than 17 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.

�2011 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.

facebook twitter stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Cook County commissioner urges census participation 2020-03-31
LGBTQ Chicagoans weigh in on 2020 Census 2020-03-31
OPEN LETTER Census 2020: The LGBTQ+ community counts 2020-03-27
Census official talks LGBTQs' relevance 2020-02-19
NATIONAL Kavanaugh opposition, census bill, trans inmate, Miami Beach Pride 2018-08-07
Sen. Harris, Sen. Carper introduce Census Equality Act 2018-08-04
Community airs census concerns to journalists 2018-05-01
LGBTs to be excluded from 2020 Census 2018-04-11
Attny Gen'l Lisa Madigan among AGs suing to block census citizenship question 2018-04-03
Trump administration adding citizenship question to the 2020 Census 2018-03-27
Emails prove DOJ halted LGBTQ inclusion in census, Task Force responds 2018-03-08
AG Madigan, coalition oppose citizenship question on 2020 census 2018-02-13
Census Bureau reverses previous decision to exclude LGBTQ question 2017-09-28
National LGBTQ Task Force Fights Trump Census Bureau Erasure 2017-09-27
Trump administration omits LGBTQs from 2020 census, American Community Survey 2017-03-28
World: Pakistan census, South African channel, shocking Brazilian crime 2017-01-18
Census Bureau names new Nat'l Advisory Committee members 2014-10-06
Gays included in new U.S. Census advisory committee 2012-10-11
Task Force launches next phase of Queer the Census campaign 2011-10-11
Census Bureau releases estimates of same-sex married couples 2011-10-05
Census Bureau releases new figures on same-sex couples 2011-09-28
Census shows a new 'gayest' area in U.S. 2011-08-24
U.S. Census: Illinois shows big jump in reported same-sex couples 2011-08-10
More Census info on same-sex households released 2011-06-29
Civil-rights group talks redistricting and LGBTs 2011-05-04
Making us count: Chicago queer couples in the census 2011-04-20
LETTER Coming to one's census 2011-04-13
Making us count: Illinois' queer couples and the census 2011-04-13
Study: U.S. LGBT population at 9 million 2011-04-06
Group looks at gay couples' census participation 2010-09-08
VIEWS Top 10 reasons I'm taking part in the 2010 census 2010-04-07
Census Bureau unveils LGBT PSAs with George Takei 2010-03-31
Forum on U.S. Census, same-sex couples, and LGBT Latinos 2010-03-03
Census 2010 opens doors wide for LGBT participation 2010-02-03
Our Families Count to join Census Bureau at Creating Change 2010-01-27
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds Census Bureau's plan to count married same-sex couples 2009-06-17
Quigley asks Obama to recognize same-sex married couples in census 2009-06-17
OMB urged to include same-sex couples in census 2009-05-27
Center accepting apps for census jobs 2009-02-18
Census Looks at Gays in Service, Vets 2004-10-27

Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.