The U.S. Census Bureau on Tuesday unveiled new data revealing that 131,729 married same-sex couples and 514,735 same-sex unmarried couples live in the United States.
Based on information compiled as part of the 2010 Census — the first time ever data on gay couples was collected as part of the effort — the new figures revise earlier estimates of same-sex couples published in the summer. Initial data showed 349,377 married same-sex couple households and 552,620 same-sex unmarried partner households.
Census Bureau staff discovered an inconsistency in the statistics that artificially inflated the number of same-sex couples. The adjusted results are closer to previously released estimates of the 2010 American Community Survey for same-sex married and unmarried partners.
In a statement, Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said his bureau understands “how important it is for all groups to have accurate statistics that reflect who we are as a nation.”
“As scientists, we noticed the inconsistency and developed the revised estimates to provide a more accurate portrait of the number of same-sex couples,” Groves said. “We’re providing all three — the revised, original and ACS estimates — together to provide users with the full, transparent picture of our current measurement of same-sex couples.”
According to the Census Bureau, the 2010 Census revised estimates were peer-reviewed by Gary Gates, a gay demographer with the Williams Institute at the University of California in Los Angeles, Philip Cohen, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Megan Sweeney, professor of sociology at UCLA. These experts agreed the methodology was sound behind these revised estimates.
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, said the revised estimates demonstrate the need to advance marriage equality throughout the country.
“The number of gay and lesbian couples in committed, loving relationships, raising families together, continues to grow, leaving more and more families without the critical safety-net of marriage,” Wolfson said.