In recent years, the shifting state-level legal status of same-sex couples has made it difficult for social scientists to confidently report their numbers. Before Wendy Becker married her longtime partner Mary Norton inshe remembers having to choose boxes on forms that could never quite describe their relationship. Becker says that's why she's excited to be part of the practice run of the census that's taking place right now in Rhode Island's Providence County. They eventually found the culprit: The data from these and other federal surveys are often used in conjunction with decennial census data to influence law and policy. As a result, the bureau is considering asking directly about same-sex relationships for the census.
The data from these and other federal surveys are often used in conjunction with decennial census data to influence law and policy.
New insights into Australia’s same-sex couples (Media Release)
The decision to ask about same-sex relationshipsannounced on March 29is an important change that will improve the quality of the data. Hansi Lo Wang. Cecilia Chung, senior director of strategic projects for Transgender Law Center, says she hopes to see questions about sexual orientation and gender identity on a future census form. It should be noted that the relationships are recorded when the couples have been counted in an occupied private dwelling. For the last census inChung says she mailed back her questionnaire with a pink sticker to add those questions to the form herself. Since the count of different-sex couples greatly outnumbers that of same-sex couples, Gates adds that a small number of mismarked boxes can have a big impact on data.