Census issues data on gay couples

BY Advocate.com Editors

March 14 2003 12:00 AM ET

The U.S. Census Bureau released a report Thursday that for the first time provides data on the nation's families headed by same-sex partners. The report gives information on the number of same-sex partner households that are raising children as well as the average age and racial makeup of the couples. "These numbers are compelling evidence that more needs to be done legislatively to provide the same protections to same-sex couples and their families that are already available for nongay families," said David Smith, communications director and senior strategist for the Washington, D.C.-based gay rights group Human Rights Campaign.

The report was compiled from data taken during the 2000 U.S. Census. Previously released census data revealed that there are 594,391 reported same-sex households in the country; of those, 301,026 are male couples, and 293,365 are female couples. Those same numbers also showed that gay and lesbian families live in 99.3% of all counties in the United States.

The new report showed that one third of female-couple households (34.3%) and one fifth of male-couple households (22.3%) are raising children. The report further showed that the average age of male partners is between 42.4 and 44.5 and the average age of female partners is between 42.2 and 43.4. Comparatively, opposite-sex married couples show average ages in their late 40s, while opposite-sex unmarried couples show an average age in the low to mid 30s. Finally, the new report also gives insight into the number of interracial same-sex couples in the United States, with 11.5% of male same-sex households comprising multiracial partners and 10% of female same-sex households comprising multiracial partners. Comparatively, 5.7% of opposite-sex married couples are multiracial and 12.2% of opposite-sex unmarried partners are multiracial.

"This new report on gay families shows us once again that gay and lesbian families are an undeniable part of the American landscape and that the time is long overdue for providing meaningful recognition of our families and relationships," Smith said.

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