Same-sex married couples in the U.S.

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

On June 26, 2015, The United States Supreme Court ruled in the famous Obergefell v. Hodges case that state-level bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional.

This decision effectively made same-sex marriage legal in all U.S. states and Washington, D.C., as well as all U.S. territories except for American Samoa, but not on all Indian lands. Prior to the decision, many states already recognized same-sex relationships but were not obligated to recognize marriages registered in other jurisdictions.

The American Community Survey began providing data on same-sex married couples in 2013. This data, however, is limited to the householder and his or her spouse. In today’s post, we will explore the ACS data from the Census Bureau spanning years 2013-2015, focusing on same-sex married couples.

Even before the Supreme Court’s decision, more and more states began adopting similar laws regarding same-sex marriage. In 2013, the number of same-sex family households amounted to approximately 250,000. By 2015 this number had grown by about 70 percent, totaling 423,000 households. This number is approximately 0.06 percent of the number of all heterosexual couple households, which was 61 million in 2015.

The number of female married couples was larger than the number of male married couples in both 2013 and 2015, although this number came very close in 2014. According to the 2015 ACS, there were 545,000 male couples and 590,000 female couples, making female same-sex couples 8 percent more common than male same-sex couples.

A commonly-referenced economic indicator is median household income, so we compared this value across same-sex and heterosexual couples, and the former are clearly in the lead. Same-sex family households had a median household income of $94,800 in 2015 — a full 18 percent higher than the median household income of heterosexual couples.

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About Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

Alexander is a Ph.D. student in Computer Science. He currently holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Applied Math. He has experience working for industry major companies performing research in the fields of machine learning, data mining and natural language processing. In his free time, Alexander enjoys hiking, Nordic skiing and traveling.

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