One of the most important fundamental human rights that same-sex couples are advocating over the years is the right to get married. Based on the US Federal Constitution, married couples can enjoy the legal provision and benefits covering the aspect of government, employment, medical, and other essential benefits a married couple should have. These things are also just a few of the things that most same-sex couples are advocating for a long time. The question needed to ponder now is, where is same-sex marriage in the United States at the present?
According to the 2021 report by the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 68.35 million heterosexual households in the US, with approximately 87% (59.65 million) being married couples.
As of the 2021 statistical report issued by the United States Census Bureau, the total number of heterosexual households in the US has reached 68,347,000 already, and around 59,650,000 (87%) of these household couples are registered as married. In comparison, there were only 1,209,000 homosexual couples were reported in 2021, and only 711,100, or around 59% of them were registered as married and are entitled to the legal marital provision declared by the US federal government.
In 2021, there were 1.21 million reported homosexual couples in the US, of which approximately 59% (711,100) were registered.
Legalization of same-sex marriage in the US
The Pew Research Center report indicates that approximately 61% support the legalization of same-sex marriage. However, 37% believe it could have negative societal impacts.
The Pew Research Center conducted a survey in October 2022 among Americans regarding the legalization of same-sex marriage in the US. It was reflected in their report that about six in ten adults or about 71% (n=5098 US adults) are in favor of the legalization of same-sex marriage in the country, while 37% said that they are not in favor of it due to its adverse effects on society. Interestingly, this public opinion regarding same-sex marriage was relatively strongly opposed by people back then, and as time goes by, same-sex marriage has been getting a lot of support from the public already. To supplement this, Pew Research Center released a report presenting how this public opinion changes over time. From roughly 35% in 2001, the ratio of people becoming in favor turned into 61% by 2022. Furthermore, concerning the idea that same-sex marriages should be recognized by the law as valid and with the same rights as traditional marriages, there is also a gradual decline in opposition and gradual support from Americans over the years. In fact, based on the data released by Gallup, a global analytics and advice firm, the validation from Americans of whether same-sex marriages should also be recognized by the law as a traditional marriage went up from 27% in 1996 to 71% in 2022.
According to data from Gallup, a global analytics firm, the acceptance rate for legal recognition of same-sex marriages in America has significantly increased, rising from 27% in 1996 to 71% in 2022.
Digging deeper into the topic of marriage, the legalization of same-sex marriage in the US would lead to a legal provision like the traditional marriage that is currently existing in the US constitution. Basically, all the benefits that a traditional married couple has will also be the benefits that a same-sex couple would receive under the constitution, which include tax benefits, estate planning benefits, government benefits, family benefits, housing benefits, consumer benefits, death benefits, medical benefits, employment benefits, insurance benefits, and other fundamental benefits a traditional marriage could have.
With the gradual acceptance of same-sex couples in the United States, the data also evidently shows a gradual increase in the data referring to same-sex couples over the years. For instance, in 2008, there were only 539,230 total same-sex couples reported in the US. This number gradually increase yearly to 593,324 in 2010, 639,440 in 2012, 783,100 in 2014, 887,456 in 2016, and 995,420 in 2018, until it reached 1,209,462 in 2021. There is also a huge jump in data for married same-sex couples in the US from 2008 to 2021. For example, there were only 142,486 married same-sex couples are reported in 2008. This number increased in 2010 to 152,335. In 2012, the data increased to 181,922. In 2014, the number jumped to 334,829 married same-sex couples. In 2016, the total became 486,994 already. The data reached 592,561 in 2018 and in 2021, the total number of married same-sex couples turned to 711,129.
The number of same-sex couples has seen a consistent rise over the years. From 2010 to 2021, there was an increase of approximately 104%.
Latest demographics of same-sex couples in the United States as of 2021
240,700 male-male couples and 257,700 female-female couples are still not married.
The American Community Survey released a 2021 report about the household characteristics of opposite-sex and same-sex couple households. Included in the report is the data about the latest demographics such as marriage, race, education, employment, and household economy that compares homosexual and heterosexual households in the US. In summary, 1,209,000 same-sex couples are living in the US. From this data, 336,900 couples are said to be having a male-male married relationship while 374,200 are accounted to female-female married couples, which gives a total of 711,100 married same-sex couples. On the other hand, 240,700 male-male couples and 257,700 female-female couples are still not married. With this data at hand, we can say that there was only a little difference when it comes to the ratio of male-male and female-female households that are married and unmarried in 2021. In addition to that, from the data reflected from 2008 up to 2021, there is also a little difference between the total number of same-sex couples (male-male vs. female-female) that are registered as married, and this is quite evident in the bar graph presented.
336,900 same-sex married couples (47.4%), are male-male, while 374,200 couples (52.6%), are female-female. This totals 711,100 married same-sex couples.
Of the total same-sex couples in a household, 5.3% belong to the 15-24 age bracket, 23.8% belong to the 25-34 age bracket, 21.4% of the same-sex couples belong to the 35-44 age bracket,17.2% belong to the 45-54 age bracket, 19% fall under the 55-64 age bracket, and 13.3% belong to the 65 and above age bracket.
With regards to the ages of same-sex couples in a US household, it was reported that the average age of householders among same-sex couples is 46.1 years old. Of the total same-sex couples in a household, 5.3% belong to the 15-24 age bracket, 23.8% belong to the 25-34 age bracket, 21.4% of the same-sex couples belong to the 35-44 age bracket,17.2% belong to the 45-54 age bracket, 19% fall under the 55-64 age bracket, and 13.3% belong to the 65 and above age bracket.
Based on the same report issued by the American Community Survey in 2021, most of these same-sex couples are white alone (69.7%). About 8.8% are Black or African American alone, 3.6% are Asian alone, 1.1% are American Indian or Alaska Native alone, 0.2% are Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander alone, 4.6% are some other races alone, and about 12.1% are same-sex household couples that are interracial. Moreover, 15.5% are same-sex couples who are Hispanic or Latino origin (of any race) while about 66.5% are white alone, which means they are neither Hispanic nor Latino.
Among same-sex couples, 53.5% have at least one inside the household who is a bachelor’s degree holder, while 34.1% of same-sex couples are both holders of at least a bachelor’s degree.
76.1% of same-sex couple households are said to have at least one employed or in the armed forces, while 61.2% said that both couples are working or in the armed forces.
Furthermore, it was reported that the average income of American same-sex couple households fall under $103,000. To elaborate on this, 10.6% have an income ranging from $35,000 and below, 7.7% fall under the $35,000 to $49,999 salary bracket, 15.2% have a salary of $50,000 to $74,999, 14.9% have an income ranging from $75,000 to $99,999, and 51.6% of the same-sex couples in a household have a salary of $100,000 or more. Reflected in this income demographic is a bigger percentage (63.6%) of the same-sex couples lived in a house that they owned as compared to those who are still renting (36.4%). In the United States, the five states that accounted for the greatest number of same-sex households are California with 163,964 couples, Texas with 103,565 couples, Florida with 102,421, New York with 90,260 couples, and Illinois with 42, 757 same-sex couples.
Data trends over the years for both heterosexual and homosexual couples
Relative to same-sex households, opposite-sex households or heterosexual households evidently fills a bigger percentage among the US population. This is consistent over the years.
This data indicates a gradual increase in the percentage of homosexual households over these years.
For instance, in 2008, the total number of heterosexual households in the US was 61,341,135 while the total of homosexual households was only 541,238. In 2012, there were 641,452 homosexual households while the number of heterosexual households reached 62,043,241. The year that the total number of same-sex households reached 1,211,483 was 2021, and this is still relatively lower as compared to the heterosexual households in the same year, which has reached 68,347,000 already. In addition to that, it is also constant among the opposite-sex household the higher ratio of married to not married in comparison to that of same-sex couples over the years. With regards to the comparison of the mean ages of both the heterosexual and homosexual married households from the latest data obtained, it showed that same-sex married couples are relatively younger than opposite-sex married couples. For instance, on the report issued for the 2019 and 2021 census, the average age of householder among the married opposite-sex were 52.8 This is relatively higher as compared to same-sex married couples with an average age of only 48.4 and 48.9 in 2019 and 2021 reports, respectively.
In the 2019 and 2021 data, married same-sex couples have an average of $107,210 and $111,700, respectively.
Interestingly, when it comes to the socio-economic demographics of same-sex married couples as compared to opposite-sex couples, they have relatively higher average earnings. For example, in the 2019 and 2021 data, married same-sex couples have an average of $107,210 and $111,700, respectively.
On the other hand, the average earnings of opposite-sex married couples are $96,932 and $102,800 in the years 2019 and 2021, respectively. However, regarding the type of home tenure, married same sex couples have, 61.8% were reported to have their own house in 2019 and it partially jumped to 63.6% in 2021. On the other hand, in the 2019 report, 80.4% of opposite-sex household was reported to have their own house and it partially increased in 2021 to 81.8%.
Divorce rate between homosexual and heterosexual couples
When talking about marriages, divorce has been one of the most common processes to relate to. Unfortunately, due to a very limited reference studies conducted targeting the rate of divorce occurring among the same-sex American households, there are also little to no statistics that can describe how the marriages behave in terms of dissolutions since same-sex marriages were only recognized in 2015. However, a study conducted by the Williams Institute, a prestigious gay-legal think tank located at the University of California Los Angeles, provided an idea that the divorce rate among same-sex couples is slightly lower as compared to the divorce rate of married opposite-sex couples in 2014. According to their findings, there was about 1.6% of divorce rate happened among the same-sex couples. During 2014 also, the divorce rate among opposite sex couples was 2.0% as reported by National Center for Health Statistics.
The divorce rate among same-sex couples was reported to be about 1.6%, which is slightly lower compared to the 2.0% divorce rate among opposite-sex couples in 2014, as reported by the National Center for Health Statistics.
This is still debatable nowadays since there are still insufficient data to describe the status of the divorce aspect of marriages in the US among genders, but there are some justifications for this claim. Some of the reasons are the level of challenges same-sex couples face as compared to opposite-sex couples such as societal pressure and judgments and another factor would be regarding the conflicts or disagreements in gender roles and parenting styles. Like other couples, same-sex couples are also prone to issues such as infidelity, financial problems, and differences in lifestyle or values, and these could also be the factors to consider in why they initiated the divorce.
Summary and Conclusions
To summarize the findings mentioned above, with the help of same-sex marriage legalization in the US, the population of same-sex households in the US is gradually increasing over the years. Aside from that, the increased approval rate of the US society for same-sex couples contributed a lot to the growth of the homosexual household community in the US. This is evident in the data presented from 2008 to 2021 where the number of same-sex households started from 539,230 in 2008 and blew up to 1,209,462 in 2021. Although the number increases over time, it is still relatively lower than the opposite-sex couples reported from the same timeline. However, in some aspects of socioeconomic demographics of the same-sex couple households, they are observed to have higher parameters including the aspect of educational attainment, employment rate, and annual income as compared to the opposite-sex couple households living in the US. In addition to that, in some reports published, it was observed that same-sex couples are more likely to adopt a child as compared to opposite-sex couples, which could also be an advantageous perspective to consider as same-sex marriages are gradually increasing over time.
Even though same-sex marriages are already being recognized in the US, there are still amendments some advocates are pushing for the benefit of the community when it comes to the legal aspects of it. However, this is still a good indication that the progress in the fight for same-sex rights, particularly marriage, is continuously advancing forward. In fact, last December 2022, we can now see how the progress is going since the bill to protect same-sex marriage rights has been cleared in congress already and now waiting for the signature of the president to make it into law.
- Marriage Rights and Benefits: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/marriage-rights-benefits-30190.html.
- About six-in-ten Americans say legalization of same-sex marriage is good for society: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2022/11/15/about-six-in-ten-americans-say-legalization-of-same-sex-marriage-is-good-for-society/.
- LGBT Rights: https://news.gallup.com/poll/1651/gay-lesbian-rights.aspx.
- Number of Same-Sex Couple Households Exceeded 1 Million in 2021: https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2022/11/same-sex-couple-households-exceeded-one-million.html.
- See How Marriage and Divorce Rates in Your State Stack Up: https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2020/12/united-states-marriage-and-divorce-rates-declined-last-10-years.html.
- Census Bureau Implements Improved Measurement of Same-Sex Couples: https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2020/09/same-sex-married-couples-have-higher-income-than-opposite-sex-married-couples.html.
- Same-Sex Couple Households in U.S. Surpass One Million: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/02/us/same-sex-households-census.html.
- The Complicated Reality Of Gay Divorce In America: https://www.sdlgbtn.com/the-complicated-reality-of-gay-divorce-in-america/.
- Bill to Protect Same-Sex Marriage Rights Clears Congress: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/08/us/politics/same-sex-marriage-congress.html.
- Larger Share of People in Same-Sex Couples Have Graduate or Professional Degrees Than People in Opposite-Sex Couples: https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2021/04/how-people-in-same-sex-couples-compare-to-opposite-sex-couples.html.
- Children of Same-Sex Parents More Likely to Be Adopted Than Those Living With a Parent in an Opposite-Sex Relationship: https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2022/07/most-kids-with-parent-in-same-sex-relationship-live-with-female-couple.html.
- Same-Sex Couples Are More Likely to Adopt or Foster Children:https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2020/09/fifteen-percent-of-same-sex-couples-have-children-in-their-household.html.
- Patterns of Relationship Recognition for Same-Sex Couples: Divorce and Terminations: https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/publications/patt-relat-recog-ss-couple-divorce/