- The Washington Times - Monday, November 1, 2010

The District of Columbia leads the nation in male same-sex households, while Massachusetts is tops in lesbian-led homes, a university-based research center says in a new report.

Overall, there were 581,300 gay-couple-headed households in the United States in 2009, the National Center for Marriage & Family Research (NCMFR) said in this month’s Family Profiles report, citing data from the 2009 American Community Survey (ACS).

This is somewhat smaller than the 594,391 same-sex couples identified in the 2000 census, but potential misclassifications mean “these differences should be interpreted with caution,” the NCMFR report said.

About 26 percent of the nation’s 581,300 gay households, or 152,121, were led by married couples in 2009.

Census Bureau data also showed that, when it came to weddings, lesbians significantly outnumbered gay males — 85,847 to 66,274 or 56 percent to 44 percent. But this broad-based number was less dramatic than other studies that have suggested that lesbians marry at twice the rate of gay men.

Geographically, the report identified about a dozen places where at least one in 10 unmarried couples are gay (whether the gay couples are themselves unmarried or married).

The District came in No. 1 in the nation, with 31 percent of the city’s unmarried couples identifying themselves as same-sex. This high representation was overwhelmingly due to the men — gay male households make up 26 percent of all unmarried households, compared with 4 percent that were led by lesbians.

However, Massachusetts was the top choice of lesbian couples, who represented nearly 8 percent of the state’s unmarried couples. Gay males were about 6 percent of the Bay State’s unmarried households.

The NCMFR’s Family Profiles are summaries of the latest statistics on a variety of family issues. The center was established in 2007 at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, and receives support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Among the report’s other findings on same-sex households:

• Top locations for gay couples to live included Massachusetts, New York, Delaware, Maine, Rhode Island and Georgia on the East Coast, and Colorado, Utah, Arizona, California, Oregon and Hawaii in the West. In addition, males and females had their own favored locales: Florida and Virginia were hot spots for gay male couples to settle, while lesbians were especially fond of Vermont, Maryland, Texas and New Mexico.

• Male same-sex households had the highest average household income of all coupled households, at nearly $117,000. Heterosexual cohabitants had the lowest average household income, $64,000.

• In gay-couple households, both partners were likely to have at least a bachelor’s degree (30 percent), compared with all other households. Among heterosexual married couples, for instance, only 21 percent both had college degrees, while only 10 percent of heterosexual cohabitants both had degrees.

• Heterosexual couples, married or unmarried, were more likely to have children in the home (42 percent and 39 percent), compared with gay couples (17 percent). Of same-sex parents, females outnumbered males 22 percent to 11 percent.

• Regarding homeownership, heterosexual married couples and same-sex couples looked about the same, with more than two-thirds of these couples owning their homes. In contrast, less than half of heterosexual cohabiting couples had a mortgage.

• Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at cwetzstein@washingtontimes.com.

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