The number of gay and lesbian couples
living together throughout America has risen sharply over the past
decade, new census data shows.
Figures released this week by the
Census Bureau and analyzed by Gary Gates, a scholar at the Williams
Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles, a think
tank which studies the effect of policy on LGBT people, show the
number of self-identified gay couples grew by 52% over the past
The Census Bureau does not ask people whether they are gay; however, starting in 1990 the agency included
questions that allow respondents to identify themselves as living
with a member of the same sex, although the status of their
relationship is not questioned.
The figures show a nearly 90% increase
in Montana, Nevada and West Virginia. More traditional gay-friendly
states such as California, New York and Washington D.C. saw more
modest increases of 40% of less.
New York Times that he did not believe there had been a
sudden surge of gay couples. Instead, gay people are increasingly
feeling more comfortable answering the question.
The wider trend, Gates said, is that
acceptance of gay couples is moving beyond coastal states.