Alaska: Extending Marriage to Same-Sex Couples Could Add $8 Million to State Economy

For Immediate Distribution
October 8, 2014

Contact:
Laura Rodriguez, lrodriguez@rabengroup.com, (310) 956-2425
Donald Gatlin, dgatlin@rabengroup.com, (202) 587-2871

LOS ANGELES—Extending marriage to same-sex couples in Alaska would generate an estimated $8 million in spending to the state economy, according to a new study authored by Williams Distinguished Scholar, M.V. Lee Badgett; Williams Gleason Kettel Summer Fellow, Justin M. O’Neill; and Williams Senior Counsel, Christy Mallory.

“This study confirms that all Alaskans would benefit from marriage for same-sex couples, not just the LGBT community,” said Badgett.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the most recent data available, 1,228 same-sex couples live in Alaska. Of those couples, the Institute estimates that 50 percent (614 couples) would choose to marry in the first three years, a pattern that has been observed in Massachusetts and elsewhere. Over 393 marriages would occur in the first year alone, and bring over $5.1 million in revenue to the state of Alaska that year.

Key findings include:
• 614 in-state same-sex couples would choose to marry in the three years following an opening of marriage to same-sex couples in Alaska.
• The total spending on wedding arrangements and tourism by resident same-sex couples and their guests would add an estimated $8 million to the state and local economy of Alaska over the course of three years, with a $5.1 million boost in the first year alone.
• This economic boost would add $135,000 in sales tax revenue to local coffers.
• Spending related to same-sex couples’ wedding ceremonies and celebrations would create 26 to 79 jobs in the tourism and recreation sector for the state.

Analyses are informed by the methodology that the Williams Institute has used in previous studies of the economic impact of marriage in a number of other states. State-level data, 2010 Census data, and American Community Survey data were all used to estimate the economic impact of extending marriage to same-sex couples in Alaska. Estimates do not take into account the impact of same-sex couples from other states who will travel to Alaska to marry.

“Study after study has demonstrated that, in addition to significant revenue, marriage for same-sex couples also creates new jobs,” noted Mallory.

Click here for the full study.

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