Same-Sex couples in US Census Bureau Data: Who Gets Counted and Why
By Gary J. Gates
This research brief highlights key findings of a national survey of cohabiting same-sex couples designed to understand if and how they completed their Census 2010 forms and why they chose the options they did to identify their relationship. Findings suggest that as many as 1 in 7 same-sex couples will not be identified as such in Census 2010. Analyses also show that 30% of same-sex couples were either married (14%) or in a civil union or registered domestic partnership (15%), but more than 4 in 10 of these couples lived in states that do not recognize their legal status. Virtually all couples who described their relationship as unmarried partners on the Census form were either not married or were married but lived in a state that did not recognize their marriage. Of those who described themselves as spouses, 71% were married and 15% were in a civil union or registered domestic partnership.