Dixie is So Gay: Surprising Census Info About Gay Parents in the South
The Times has a great piece today that defies a lot of the common stereotypes of what it means to be gay in America. Since 1990, the Census has been a gold mine of information about LGBT couples for creative demographers. Despite the lack of any question about sexual orientation (hence, no info on single LGBT Americans), the 2010 Census looked at married gay couples for the first time.
Times reporter Sabrinia Tavernise interviews UCLA demographer Gary Gates in this article, who challenges the idea that LGBT Americans are "all rich white guys" living in West Hollywood or the West Village. Based on recent Census findings, the article states:
- Raising children by same-sex couples in the South is more common than in any other region in the country
- Gay couples in Southern states like Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas are more likely to be raising children than their counterparts on the West Coast, in New York and in New England. (That's right -- Little Rock may just be a more common place for gay parenting than Little Italy.)
- Black or Latino gay couples are twice as likely as whites to be raising children.
- A large number of gay couples, possibly a majority, entered into their current relationship after first having children with partners in heterosexual relationships
- Gay men who have children do so an average of three years earlier than heterosexual men. (Listen up, straight guys: the gays are beating you at your main game here!)
- There are approximately 581,000 same-sex couples in the United States
- About a third of lesbians are parents, and a fifth of gay men are. (The article is a little unclear about whether this number refers to all LGBT Americans or just those in relationships, but either way, it's a huge number.)
- San Antonio, Texas is the city with the highest rate of gay couples raising children (34 percent), with Jacksonville Florida right behind at 32 percent (the setting for Tavernise's story)
UCLA also produced a 2008 study of LGBT families in New York City, which utilized data from the 2000 Census. That study looks at same-sex headed families in the five boroughs and has some counter-intuitive findings about money, sexual orientation, and who's choosing to have families in our city.