This research brief offers analyses of data from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) to describe the characteristics of same-sex couples and their families in Louisiana compared to their different-sex married counterparts.
Same-sex couples are identified in the ACS when an adult in the household is identified as either the “husband/wife” or “unmarried partner” of the person who filled out the survey, referred to as the householder, and both partners or spouses are of the same sex. These analyses combine ACS Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) files from 2010, 2011, and 2012, yielding sample sizes of:
- 147 same-sex couples
- 46 children under age 18 being raised by same-sex couples
- 24,623 different-sex married couples
- 17,281 children under age 18 being raised by different-sex married couples
Tabulations from Census 2010 show that there are 8,076 same-sex couples living in Louisiana. These couples were identified in all but one of Louisiana’s parishes. The majority of same-sex couples in Louisiana are female (55%).
The average age of individuals in same-sex couples in Louisiana is nearly eight years younger than that of individuals in different-sex married couples—42.8 and 50.6 years old, respectively. Table 1 shows the percentages of adults in same-sex and different-sex married couples by age group. The lowest percentage of same-sex couples is in the 65 and over group (4%) while the lowest percentage of different-sex married couples is in the youngest age group of those under age 30 (8%).
A similar percentage of individuals in same-sex couples and different-sex married couples are members of racial or ethnic minorities. Table 2 shows that, in Louisiana, 20% of individuals in same-sex couples and 25% of individuals in different-sex married couples are racial or ethnic minorities.
Same-sex couples with children
Nearly three in ten same-sex couples in Louisiana (27%) are raising children under age 18 in their homes. An estimated 2,196 same-sex-couple households in the state are raising 3,326 children.
More than half of the children being raised by same-sex couples in Louisiana are biologically related to one member of the couple (55%), 5% are adopted children, and 17% are stepchildren. This implies that same-sex couples in the state are raising an estimated 1,827 biological children, 170 adopted children, and 556 stepchildren. An additional 23% of children being raised by same-sex couples in Louisiana, or 773 children, are identified as grandchildren or other children.
Among couples with children, same-sex couples in Louisiana are more than four-and-a-half times more likely than their different-sex married counterparts to be raising an adopted child. More than 14% of same-sex couples with children have an adopted child, compared to 3% of different-sex married couples with children. Further, 5% of the children of same-sex couples in Louisiana are adopted, compared to 2% of the children of different-sex married couples.
While these Census Bureau data do not identify any same-sex couples fostering children in Louisiana, only 0.4% of different-sex couples with children include a foster child in the state.
Nearly six in ten of individuals in same-sex couples who are members of racial or ethnic minorities (57%) are raising a child under age 18, compared to 20% of their White counterparts.
The median annual household income of same-sex couples with children under age 18 in the home is 9% lower than the median annual household income of comparable different-sex married couples ($73,038 versus $80,645).
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