Same-sex marriage in the U.S

A recent research paper published by the Treasury Department has created one of the most detailed pictures of same-sex married couples in the country. According to Quoctrung Bui of the New York Times, the demographics of gay marriage in the U.S have been a mystery for quite a long time, mainly because of lack of data and methodology concerns.

The authors of the mentioned paper collected tax returns of same-sex couples who filed jointly in 2014 and linked them with their Social Security records. By doing this they estimated that in 2014 there were 183,280 same-sex married couples in the U.S, representing almost 1% of all marriages.

As illustrated in the following figure, the areas with dark red colors are the ones with higher percentages of same-sex marriages. The data shows that gay married couples are concentrated in the coasts and in urban areas across the country.

The study also revealed that there are geographical differences in male vs. female marriages. While male married couples tend to concentrate in dense city centers like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, lesbian married couples tend to reside in smaller and medium-size cities like Springfield, MA; Madison, WI; and Burlington, VT.

Another finding of the study is that pre-tax household income of same-sex married couples is higher than the one of heterosexual married couples. This difference is driven mainly by the average earnings of male same-sex married couples ($176,000).

Additionally, researchers found that among same-sex marriages, 55% involved lesbian couples and 45% gay couples. The married same-sex couples also tend to be younger than those in heterosexual married couples. The average age of same-sex filers is 47, while the average age for those in straight couples is 51.


Daniela Oliva

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