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More Than 1 Million Same-Sex Couples Live in the U.S., Census Says

Lesbian couple

This marks the first time this figure, drawn from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, has exceeded 1 million.

The number of same-sex couple households documented by the U.S. Census Bureau exceeded 1 million for the first time in 2021, according to Census data released in late November.

The figure came to 1.2 million, including 710,000 households where same-sex couples were married and 500,000 where the couples were unmarried. It is based on information from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, which asks questions about jobs, relationships, and more.

The number is significant even though it doesn't reflect all the LGBTQ+ people in the U.S., nor even the number of same-sex couples due to limits on data collection. "The ACS does not identify all couples living together since it only collects information about each household member's relationship to the householder, rather than about the relationships among all household members," the bureau noted in an online summary.

The bureau began gathering this data in 2008, when it counted 540,000 households with same-sex couples. The 2021 number represents a 120 percent increase since then. The figure neared 1 million in 2019, when it reached 980,000. The American Community Survey did not gather the information in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Related: 17 Iconic Same-Sex Couples Throughout History

Among the findings of the survey was that a larger proportion of married same-sex couples was interracial -- 31.6 percent -- than married opposite-sex couples, with 18.4 percent.

The average age of householders in married same-sex couples was 48.9 years, while for opposite-sex married couples it was 52.8. In unmarried same-sex couples, the average age of householders was 42, while it was 39.9 for unmarried opposite-sex couples.

The median annual household income in female same-sex couple households was $92,470, lower than in male same-sex couple households, at $116,800.

The District of Columbia had the highest percentage of same-sex couple households of any state or state equivalent, at 2.5 percent.

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