The 2010 census marked the first time that same-sex married couples will be counted as such in the decennial population count. During the 2000 census, even when no state recognized same-sex marriages, many gay couples listed themselves as spouses; now that five states, plus the District of Columbia, issue licenses to same-sex couples, the bureau will be able to count them more accurately, and that data will be released for the first time ever this November.
Detailed census data from recent years shows more specifically where high concentrations of same-sex couples are living. The data suggests that a large proportion of same-sex couples in a city, state, or region is a factor that sets the stage for legislation granting marriage rights to non-heterosexual couples.
All of the 10 metropolitan areas with the highest proportions of same-sex unmarried partnerships, according to data from the Census Bureau’s 2005-2009 American Community Survey, are in states that currently grant either same-sex marriage or domestic partnerships. But only two of those states–Massachusetts and Maine–issued any type of legal same-sex partnerships for that entire period.
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