Census Corrects Same-Sex Couple Estimates
Special Report - September 29, 2011
The estimated number of same-sex couple households in the United States for 2010 is significantly lower than previously reported, according to new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau earlier this week. The Census Bureau issued revised estimates for 2010 on the number of “married” and unmarried same-sex couple households on September 27, noting that a previous report released this summer from the 2010 Census included same-sex partner household estimates that were much higher than estimates from the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS).
The data set released earlier this summer, which was based on the 2010 Census, reported an estimated 901,997 same-sex couple households in the U.S. (“married” and unmarried same-sex partners), which is 52 percent higher than the 593,324 same-sex couple households (or 152,335 same-sex “married” partners and 440,989 same-sex unmarried partners) reported in the 2010 ACS Brief released this month. The revised estimates released this week by the Census Bureau are closer to the ASC estimates of same-sex couples, with an estimated 646,464 same-sex couple households in the U.S. (or 131,729 “married” same-sex partner households, and 514,735 unmarried same-sex partner households).
According to a Census Bureau press release, “Census Bureau staff discovered an inconsistency in the responses in the 2010 Census summary file statistics that artificially inflated the number of same-sex couples.” Specifically, the Census Bureau estimates that 28 percent of all same-sex couple households in the previous 2010 Census report were actually opposite-sex households due to a mistake in the way the data was collected.
The 2010 ACS Brief estimates that in 2010, same-sex couple households accounted for about one percent of all couple households in the nation. According to the ACS, 115,000 of same-sex couple households in 2010 included children. The ACS brief also includes information by state, including North Carolina, where the percentage of reported same-sex couple households is estimated to be in the range of 0.67 to .95 percent of all couple households.
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