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Historic numbers

U.S. same-sex couple households surpass 1 million for the 1st time

The number of same-sex couple households in the U.S. surpassed one million for the first time in 2021, The New York Times reports, per recently-released data from the Census Bureau.

The data comes from the annual American Community Survey that accompanies the decennial census. According to the latest survey, there were around 1.2 million same-sex couple households in 2021. Nearly 60 percent, about 710,000, were married, and about 500,000 were unmarried but living together. 

The District of Columbia had the highest percentage of same-sex couple households at 2.5 percent, followed by Hawaii with 1.4 percent and Oregon and Delaware with 1.3 percent. The lowest rate reported was in South Dakota at 0.4 percent. 

The number of same-sex couples in the U.S. has been steadily increasing, per the Times. There were a recorded 555,000 households in 2008; a decade later, in 2018, that number had grown to nearly one million. The number of married same-sex couple households started to surpass that of unmarried same-sex couples in 2016, the year after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. 

The new data comes amidst growing bipartisan support for a law to protect the right to same-sex marriage. The U.S. Senate recently passed the Respect for Marriage Act, which will enshrine federal recognition of same-sex marriages into law. The bill will now return to the House for a final vote before President Biden signs it.