700,000 Americans Married to Same-sex Spouse

Author: The Williams Institute
Published: Friday 6th March 2015 - Updated: Tuesday 28th February 2017
Summary: 700,000 Americans Are Married to a Same-sex Spouse, Married Same-sex Couples More Likely to Raise Adopted, Foster Children and Are More Economically Secure, New Reports Show.


According to Williams Institute Research Director Gary Gates' assessment of a new preliminary estimate from Gallup, the number of legally married same-sex couples in the United States has more than doubled over the last year.

The new figures suggest that, as of February 2015, more than 700,000 Americans are part of a married same-sex couple, implying that there are now about 350,000 married same-sex couples in the country. Estimates from the 2013 National Health Interview Survey had the figure at 130,000.

"These new figures showing a surge in same-sex couples marrying across the country highlight the historic nature of the past year for LGBT individuals and their families," said Gary J. Gates, Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar and Research Director at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.

Two new research reports released today and authored by Gates show that same-sex couples, particularly married ones, are more likely to be raising adopted or foster children than their different-sex counterparts. The reports also found that same-sex couples with children have a lower median annual income than different-sex couples with kids but, like different-sex couples, married same-sex couples are more economically secure.

"The debates about marriage and same-sex couples have focused substantial attention on the idea that marriage is a great environment for raising children," Gates said. "Same-sex couples seem to agree. Married same-sex couples are much more likely than their unmarried counterparts to have kids, particularly adopted and foster children."

Findings from the two Williams Institute reports will be included in a friend-of-the-court brief that will be submitted on Friday to the Supreme Court of the United States as part of the same-sex marriage cases in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. The reports analyze the 2013 American Community Survey, which for the first time explicitly identified both married and unmarried same-sex couples.

Key findings of the reports include:

The first study, titled "Demographics of Married and Unmarried Same-sex Couples: Analyses of the 2013 American Community Survey," analyzes nationwide data. The second study, "Demographics of Same-sex Couples in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee: Analyses of 2013 American Community Survey," focuses on the four states whose same-sex marriage cases will be considered by the Supreme Court in June.


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