Same Sex and Different Sex Couples in the American Community Survey: 2005-2011

By Gary J. Gates
February 2013

There are nearly 650,000 same-sex couples in the United States, of which approximately 114,100 are legally married and over 108,600 are in civil unions or registered domestic partnerships. This research brief summarizes the demographic characteristics of same-sex couples and compares them to different-sex couples. The analyses highlight trends and changes in the demographic diversity of same-sex couples and assess the degree to which similar changes are occurring among different-sex couples.

Key findings include:

Children: As of 2011, about one in five same-sex couples are raising children under age 18. Among different-sex couples the proportion with children is 43.5%.
Race/Ethnicity: About a quarter of individuals in same-sex couples are non-white and they are generally as racially and ethnically diverse as those in different-sex couples, though individuals in same-sex couples are less likely to be Asian, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander.
Veterans: About 13% of same-sex couples include a veteran and slightly less than 1% include a spouse or partner who has been on active duty in the last year.
Health Insurance: Same-sex couples are less likely than different-sex couples to have both spouses or partners covered by health insurance (76.5 v. 84%, respectively) and twice as likely to have only one spouse or partner insured (17% v. 8%, respectively).

The report is based on data from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), 2005 through 2011.

Click here for the full report.

Click here for the press release.