The Geography of Gay and Lesbian Couples: What We Can Learn from Census 2000

Gary J. Gates, Urban Institute

One of the most publicized stories to emerge from Census 2000 has been the increase in the reporting of same-sex unmarried partnerships, commonly understood to be gay and lesbian couples. This paper explores the geographic distribution of these couples in the United States as observed in Census 2000. Acknowledging that changes in counting procedures for same-sex unmarred partners limit the ability to make comparisons between 1990 and 2000, the paper begins by examining basic findings from the 1990 Census and explores any notable changes in the 2000 data. The primarily descriptive analysis include consideration of estimates of the undercount in 2000; estimates of the total gay and lesbian population; differences in location patterns of gay men, lesbians, married, and unmarried heterosexual partners; and analysis of racial/ethnic, age, and housing tenure characteristics of gay and lesbian neighborhoods A preliminary analysis can be found at:

Presented in Session 70: Census 2000: New Trends