The 'tremendous increase' in same-sex households: By the numbers

New census data show the remarkable degree to which gay marriage and same-sex unions have "come out" since 2000

A same sex couple, holding their four-month-old baby, exchange wedding vows at City Hall in San Francisco in 2004
(Image credit: Kim Kulish/Corbis)

Proponents of legal recognition for same-sex partnerships had a big decade between 2000 and 2010, and new U.S. Census Bureau figures reflect that shift. The 2010 census was the first to allow gay couples to list themselves as married — a status that wasn't legally available before 2004 — but the number of recorded same-sex households of all sorts surged, according to initial estimates released in August. While the bureau's new "preferred estimate" of gay households released Tuesday marks a sizable drop from those August numbers, it's still a "tremendous increase" over previous figures with wide-ranging implications, says Brian Moulton at the Human Rights Campaign. These gay couples aren't "suddenly popping out of nowhere," either, he adds. The new data reflect the "degree people feel comfortable coming out on the census form." Here's a look at the numbers:

646,464

Number of households headed by a same-sex couple in 2010

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

901,997

Number of same-sex households in the Census Bureau's initial August estimate

358,390

Number of same-sex households in 2000 Census

80

Percentage increase in same-sex households from 2000 to 2010

6

Number of states (including Washington, D.C.) that allowed gay marriage in 2010

Number of states that allowed gay marriage in 2000

131,729

Number of same-sex households where the gay couple says they're married

70

Percentage of those couples who are legally married, according to Williams Institute estimates

64,223

Number of married households where the gay couple is male (49 percent)

67,506

Number of married households where the gay couple is female (51 percent)

514,735

Number of same-sex households where the gay couple is not married

0.55

Percentage of U.S. households headed by gay couples

182

Number of opposite-sex households per every 1 same-sex household

44

Percentage of Massachusetts same-sex households where gay couple is legally married

10.3

Percentage of Maine same-sex households where gay couple is legally married

559

Number of same-sex households in North Dakota

4,822

Number of same-sex households in Washington, D.C.

98,153

Number of same-sex households in California

Sources: Businessweek, CNN, Contra Costa Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, AP

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us