The Williams Institute—UCLA Law’s research dream team renowned for advancing sexual orientation law and public policy—recently released a national report based on revisions of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 data on same-sex couples living in the United States.
The report highlights striking statistics. For example, there are 901,997 same-sex couples residing in the U.S., and same-sex couples are represented in 99 percent of U.S. counties. In other words, we’re here, we’re queer, and we’re visible virtually everywhere. Also notable is that 60 percent of same-sex couples are women, and 22 percent of all same-sex couples have families with children.
The national average is 7.7 same-sex couples per 1,000 households, and not surprisingly, Provincetown, Mass. has the highest proportion. At 163 couples per 1,000 households (261 total couples), the longtime gay enclave beat out such other towns as Fort Lauderdale suburb Wilton Manors, Fla. (140 couples per 1,000 households, 871 total), and Palm Springs, Calif. (115 couples per 1,000 households, 2,621 total).
The concentration of same-sex couples in these cities stands out in part because they all have populations below 100,000. San Francisco remains the top-ranked city with a population over 250,000 (33 couples per 1,000 households, 11,555 total), followed by Seattle (26 couples per 1,000 households, 7,242 total) and Oakland, Calif. (25 couples per 1,000 households, 3,785 total).
These numbers represent a 50 percent increase since 2000. Williams Institute demographer Gary Gates explains that a growing acceptance of the LGBT community in mainstream America over the last decade has led to higher accuracy in reporting.
“Particularly among smaller cities, the data reflects that the LGBT community has dispersed beyond traditional enclaves as social stigma eases, couples are more comfortable coming out, and a generation of aging and out same-sex couples begin to retire,” says Gates.