2010 Census: Be counted
For the first time in history, the Census will count both unmarried same-sex partners and legally married same sex spouses in its survey!
If you have legally married your same-sex spouse in any state, you may choose the “husband or wife” option, and the Census will record and report on these figures in its official Census tables on married couples in the U.S.
While many people in our community are uncomfortable with these terms, we have to remember that the Census is slow to respond to changing language and social realities. For example, for many years, the Census provided no way for people of multiracial origins to accurately record their race. Now is not the time to refuse to check the “husband or wife” box because it doesn’t fit our political or linguistic views of ourselves. Having a count of LGBT married couples will be an historic, important first step in changing the way the entire country understands LGBT partnership. If you are legally married, don’t miss out on being counted!
Many, many more of us will check the “unmarried partner” box in this year’s Census and this is equally important. Last year, the annual Census survey, the American Community Survey (ACS), reported a significant decline in same sex couples. This is partly because the ACS had been improperly recording some opposite-couples as same sex, due to poor survey design. Regardless, any drop in our numbers is not good for our community.
The reality is, few federal surveys record any information whatsoever about LGBT people. The Census recording of same sex unmarried partners and married couples gives a rare glimpse at our community: where we live, how we create family, and whether we own or rent our homes.