Census Will Miss Some Gay Couples

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com September 09 2010 7:40 PM ET

A new survey finds that while 99% of U.S. same-sex couples participated in
this year's Census, one in seven won't be identified as such in its findings.

The results come from the Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law. Not all gay couples will be counted in the survey because some chose to identify as roommates, others felt their relationship couldn't be defined, and some found their living situation made it impossible for them to identify as couples.

"Same-sex couples are identified in Census data when one partner is 'Person 1' in a household and designates the other as a husband, wife, or an unmarried partner," according to a press release from the Williams Institute. "The survey found that one in 10 individuals in same-sex couples opted to identify as roommates on their Census forms. An additional 5% of couples are not identified because they live in a household where neither partner is Person 1."

Some respondents told the Williams Institute that they didn't identify as part of a gay couple because of confidentiality concerns, and some opted out because they protested the fact that the Census did not allow people to specifically identify as LGBT.

Other findings of the survey included that 14% of couples identified as married and 15% identified as part of a civil union or domestic partnership. "More than 4 in 10 of those couples in legal relationships do not live in states that recognize their marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership," the institute noted. 

Click here to view the full results of the survey.