Estimating the Economic Boost of Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in West Virginia
By Justin M. O’Neill, Christy Mallory, M.V. Lee Badgett
Extending marriage to same-sex couples in West Virgina would generate an estimated $9 million in spending to the state economy. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 2,848 same-sex couples live in West Virginia. Of those couples, it is estimated that 50 percent, or 1,424 couples, would choose to marry in the first three years, a pattern that has been observed in Massachusetts and elsewhere. Over 911 marriages would occur in the first year alone, and bring over $5.8 million in revenue to the state of West Virginia that year. This economic boost would add over $546,000 in sales tax revenue to state and local coffers. In addition, spending related to same-sex couples’ wedding ceremonies and celebrations would create 27 to 82 jobs in the tourism and recreation sector for the state.