The Williams Institute, a leading think tank in the field of law and public policy relating to sexual orientation and gender identity, will continue its leading role in disseminating US Census data on same-sex couples with the impending release of the 2010 Census data. Throughout the month of June, the Institute will regularly release state-level data on same-sex couples as it becomes available.
This month, the US Census Bureau began the process of releasing its “Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics” for individual states. Historically, US Census Bureau data on same-sex couples have been a critical resource for informing the many national, state, and local debates about lesbian and gay rights. The below questions and answers summarize the timetable for data releases and explain Census procedures regarding same-sex couple data.
Question: Is it possible to identify same-sex couples in the Census 2010 data that the Census Bureau began releasing this month?
Answer: No. These detailed profiles do not include specific information about same-sex couple households. Same-sex couples are included within the “unmarried partner” households. These households include both different-sex and same-sex couples who designated one partner as an “unmarried partner” along with same-sex couples who designated one partner as a “husband” or “wife”.
Question: When will Census 2010 data about same-sex couples be released?
Answer: In June 2011, the first release of data specifically about same-sex couples will begin with the weekly releases of the “Summary File 1” data (data from several states are distributed each week). These data will include official tabulations of same-sex male and female couples and information about the presence of children in their homes at a variety of geographic levels (e.g., state, county, and Census tract). The SF-1 data will not include separate information about same-sex couples who designated themselves as spouses and those who used unmarried partner. These groups are combined in these tables. The Williams Institute will publish research briefs on each state as these data are released.
Question: When will Census 2010 data about same-sex spouses be released?
Answer: Later in the year, the Bureau will release tabulations on its American FactFinder website and a technical note about same-sex couples that will include national and state counts of the number of same-sex couples who designated themselves as spouses versus unmarried partners.
The Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy advances law and public policy through rigorous, independent research and scholarship, and disseminates its work through a variety of education programs and media to judges, legislators, lawyers, other policy makers, and the public. For more information, please visit law.ucla.edu/williamsinstitute.