According to Statistics Netherlands, one in 100 Dutch couples are gay or lesbian. At the start of 2005, 53,000 same-sex couples (29,000 male and 24,000 female), compared to fewer than 39,000 such couples 10 years earlier. About 12% of same-sex couples were married, while another 10% were in common-law partnerships. About 9% of those couples have one or more children.
A report on the 2001 English and Wales Census found a total of 78,522 individuals who said they co-habit with a person of the same sex, in a report from the Office for National Statistics. (The gay community has criticized the data as woefully low.) Brighton and Hove have the highest percentage of gay couples, at 1.29% of the population, or 2,554 individuals. The rest of the top 10 places are in London, starting with the City of London, then Islington, Lambeth, Tower Hamlets, Camden, Hackney, Southwark, Westminster and Haringey.
Perhaps the most compelling and in-depth new information about the gay market anywhere is from the American census data for 2000, which for the first time asked individuals if they lived with an "unmarried partner" they were "not related" to. (This was carefully distinguished from everything else in the list of options to choose from, including a "roomer/boarder, housemate/roommate, foster child, other nonrelative.")
While still considered under-representative for many reasons, the census found 97% of counties nationwide contained same-sex couples. That translates to 594,000 same-sex couples across the U.S. (301,000 male couples, 293,000 female -- totaling 1 in 9 of "all unmarried couples"), with at least one same-sex pairing in almost every county, providing data that backs some earlier concepts but not others: gay and lesbian couples are slightly better educated than married people, but they earn similar pay (not more), and aren't as likely to own their homes.
A 2006 update to the 2000 Census from the American Community Survey found that the number of same-sex couples in the U.S. grew by more than 30% from 2000 to 2005, from nearly 600,000 pairs in 2000 to almost 777,000 in 2005.
In an analysis commissioned and released by the Human Rights Campaign, more than 35% of people living with same-sex partners had a college degree in 2000, compared with 28% of married people and 19% of opposite-sex unmarried partners.
Median wages earned by same-sex couples were equal to opposite-sex couples -- about $32,000, or $8,000 more than for opposite-sex unmarried partners. About 64% of gay/lesbian couples owned their homes, compared with 78% of married partners and 41% of heterosexual unmarried couples.
(Gary Gates, a demographer from the Urban Institute, did the HRC analysis.)
As for where they live, gay male couples largely prefer urban environments (45%) to suburbs (41.3%) and lesbian couples settle more often in suburban locales (46%) than city centers (38.2%).That compares to opposite-sex partners in the city of 35% and suburbs of 45.9%. Among rural couples, lesbians (15.8%) edged out gay men (13.7%) but predictably not opposite sex partners (19.1%).Interestingly, the South carried the largest number of same-sex couples counted (209,742), followed by the West (159,653), Northeast (119,246) and Midwest (105,705).
Top states for female couples: California, New York, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Top states for male pairs varied slightly: California, New York, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Georgia.
Nationally, 33% of female same-sex households had children, the South representing the highest percentage (34%), compared to 22% of male couple households. States representing the highest percent of same-sex couple households with children were Mississippi, South Dakota and Utah.
According to another report of the census data by the HRC and Gates, of 9,328 same-sex couples, 26% of male couples included a stay-at-home parent, versus 25% of heterosexual couples, and 22% of lesbian couples. (The 2000 U.S. Census reported 60,000 male-couple households with children, or about 20% of gay male households. That compares to 96,000 female-couple households with kids, or one third of all lesbian households.)
Mixed race couples occurred in 15.3% of male couples (15% for opposite sex partners) and 12.6% of female pairs.
In more than 10% of same-sex couples, one partner is at least 65 years old, and in nearly 10% of gay couples both adults are over 65. However, senior gay couples earn 4.3% less in combined retirement income than married heterosexual couples.
About 8% of lesbian pairs said they had prior military service, compared with 1% of women who are married or who are in unmarried partnerships. About 14% of gay men had served in the military, about the same as for men in unmarried partnerships but half the rate of married men.
Despite the wealth of new data, it still may be considerably low overall. A report by the Institute for Gay & Lesbian Strategic Studies estimates the Census data may be underreporting same-sex households by 16% to 19%.
An October 2004 groundbreaking report titled "Black Same-Sex Households in the United States: A Report from the 2000 Census" by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute and the National Black Justice Coalition, written by Alain Dang and Somjen Frazer, provided the first-ever analysis of African-American lesbians and gays. The report found that black lesbian couples are raising children at almost the same rate as black married couples, and that black same-sex couples raise children at twice the rate of white same-sex couples. Black same-sex couples are 14% of all same-sex couples in the U.S.
Gays and lesbians are also significant small-business owners. The National Gay & Lesbian Chambers of Commerce conservatively estimates there are 800,000 to 1.4 million in the United States, though the organization thinks the number is larger. That number is based on the US Census and Small Business Administration data giving the total number of small businesses and then comparing it with the statistics based on self-identifying numbers of the LGBT community. The NGLCC is commissioning a Wharton School study to reassess its numbers, to be concluded in early 2006.
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