WASHINGTON — The U.S. Census Bureau will begin recognizing married, same-sex couples as families in its 2013 American Community Survey report, due out in September.
The report marks the first time the census plans to integrate an estimated 180,000 married, same-sex couples with statistics concerning the nation’s 56 million families, according to The Washington Post.
Same-sex couples have been recorded by the census for almost a decade, but until now, the statistics have not been included as part of its data on families. Instead, they have been categorized as “unmarried partners,” even when couples reported themselves as spouses.
“I think the American public already thinks same-sex married couples are families, and the Census Bureau is just catching up with public opinion,” said Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University who studies families.
The bureau’s move follows the June 2013 Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, which had prohibited married, same-sex couples from receiving federal marriage benefits.