Just half a decade after the Obergefell decision, gay marriages are on the rise in the US, according to the Census Bureau, with same-sex couples making up nearly 1 million American households. Read on for the full story.
New Census Data Shows Gay Marriages On the Rise Just 5 Years After Obergefell Decision
Just five years after the U.S. Supreme Court made gay marriage equality the “law of the land,” the Census Bureau released what Mercury News hails as “the most detailed data ever on same-sex couples.” LGBTQ-rights activists are thrilled by the comprehensive nature of the new report. Beatriz Valenzuela of Equality California said,
“Like with so many other marginalized communities, being able to have this data means so much. Accurate data helps government organizations and nonprofit groups better serve the unique needs of each community,”
For the first time ever, the Census Bureau’s 2019 American Communities Survey changed their previous- and confusing- questions to be more inclusive of LGBTQ couples. Prior surveys limited responses to just saying whether couples were living with a spouse or an unmarried partner. There were no additional questions about whether said spouse or partner was of the same sex. The Bureau added- or rather clarified- the questions after the 2010 survey’s confusion caused thousands of gay couples to go uncounted.
Report Shows Almost 1 Million Same-Sex Couples Living Together in the U.S.
According to the data, same-sex couples living together- both married and unmarried- make up 980,000 of the respondents. Of those, 58%, or 586,110, are married. This constitutes a 70% increase over the 2014 survey results. The data shows slightly more female couples than males. Gary Gates, a demographer (someone who studies statistics as they relate to human populations), said,
“Opponents of marriage equality frequently argued that same-sex couples really weren’t all that interested in marriage. But the large increase in marriages among same-sex couples since marriage equality became legal nationwide offers evidence of the clear desire for marriage among same-sex couples.”
Same-sex couples make more money than opposite-sex couples
Another interesting discovery, same-sex couples actually make more money overall than their opposite-sex counterparts, with their median income totally $107,210. Opposite-sex couples come in at $96,932. As AP News explains, part of that comes from the fact that same-sex married households are more likely to be “in the workforce than opposite-sex married households, 84.6% compared to 80.4%.”
Interestingly, both women in lesbian marriages were more likely to work than women in opposite-sex couples. However, the reverse seems to be true for men in gay marriages. Gates said,
“While most research shows that gay and bisexual men, on average, do not earn more than their comparable heterosexual male counterparts, that research also shows that they tend to earn more than lesbian and bisexual women. Unfortunately, gender discrimination is present, regardless of sexual orientation.”
Additional same-sex marriage demographics
The Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, a separate survey also released on Thursday, showed that 15% of same-sex couples had at least one child under the age of 18, versus 37.8% of opposite-sex couples, according to AP News.
As far as where the majority of same-sex couples live, DC had the greatest concentration, with 2.4% of all households. Delaware came in second with 1.3%. Oregon and, Massachusetts tied at 1.2%, and Washington State finished off the top 5 at 1.1%.
The average age for those who responded that they were living in a same-sex marriage was 48. Of the respondents, 82% identified as white, 13% as Hispanic, 7% as Black, nearly 4% as Asian.
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