Story at a glance

  • Data from the 2019 American Community Survey reveals that the number of same-sex households has jumped since gay marriage legalization.
  • An overwhelming number of the households identified as white.

In the five years since the Supreme Court’s historic ruling guaranteeing the constitutional right to same-sex marriage, more than 500,000 households are composed of same-sex married couples, The Associated Press (AP) reports.

Citing data released from the U.S. Census Bureau, same-sex marriage has increased by almost 70 percent when comparing data from 2014, the year before the Supreme Court voted to have it legalized. In hard numbers, this comes down to a total of 568,110 same-sex married couples in 2019.

“Opponents of marriage equality frequently argued that same-sex couples really weren’t all that interested in marriage. But the large increase in marriages among same-sex couples since marriage equality became legal nationwide offers evidence of the clear desire for marriage among same-sex couples,” Gary Gates, a researcher on the U.S. LGBTQ+ population, told AP.


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The census data also showed more female couple households were reported than male couple households. It also revealed that same-sex married couples have a higher median income than opposite-sex married couples, reporting an average yearly income of $107,210 versus $96,932.

This disparity persisted when analyzing female same-sex couples against male same-sex couples. Male same-sex households were more likely to outearn their female counterparts.

Gates attributes this disparity to gender discrimination in the workforce, an external factor present for all sexual orientations.


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Geographically, Washington, D.C., showcased the highest concentration of same-sex couples, at 2.4 percent of all households in the region. Delaware, Oregon, Massachusetts and Washington state also ranked the highest for the number of same-sex households. 

The vast majority of same-sex respondents were white; 82 percent of same-sex households presented in the data identified as non-Hispanic white. The next largest demographic were Hispanic, representing roughly 13 percent of the census. Another 7 percent identified as Black, and approximately 4 percent were Asian. 

More than 16 percent identified as interracial couples; about double the rate when looking at opposite-sex married couples. 

This is the first time same-sex relationship questions have been included in the 2019 American Community Survey.


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Published on Sep 18, 2020