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Same-sex couple households

Adam P. Romero, Public Policy Fellow per 1,000 households
Clifford J. Rosky, Research Fellow Nons present: O
M.V. Lee Badgett, Research Director :,a::':tLow: o.o1 - 2-99
Gary J. Gates, Senior Research Fellow ffiMed: g - 4.9g

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, this report provides
demographic and economic information about same-sex
couples and same-sex couples raising children in California. We
compare same-sex "unmarried partners," which the Census
Bureau defines as an unmarried couple who "shares living
quarters and has a close personal relationship," to different-sex
married couptes in California.l

In many ways, the more than 107,000 same-sex couples living in California are similar to married couples. According
to Census 2000, they live throughout the state, are racially and ethnically diverse, have partners who depend upon
one another financially, and actively participate in California's economy. Census data also show that 18% of same-sex
couples in California are raising children, However, same-sex couples with children have fewer economic resources to
provide for their families than married parents: they have lower household incomes and lower rates of

SAME.SEX COUPLES AND THE LGB POPULATION . Same-sex couples live in every county ¡n California
IN CALIFORNIA and constitute l.4o/o of coupled households and
0.8% of all households in the state, Los Angeles
. In 2000, there were 92,L38 same-sex couples County repofted the most same-sex couples with
living in California.2 25,173 couples (0.800/o of all county households),
followed by San Francisco County with 8,902
. By 2005, the number of same-sex couples couples (2.70o/o), and San Diego County with
increased to
107,772.3 This increase likely reflecb 7,645 couples (0.77o/o). The counties with the
same-sex couples' growing willingness to disclose highest percentage of same-sex couples are San
their partnerships on government surveys. Francisco County (2.70o/o of all county
households), Sonoma County (1.23o/o), and
. In 2005, there were an estimated 1,338,164 gay, Alameda County (l.l2o/o).6
lesbian, and bisexual people (single and coupled)
living in California,a . California's same-sex couples are racially and
ethnically diverse: 30% of individuals in same-sex
INDIVIDUALS IN SAME-SEX COUPLES ARE couples are nonwhite in California,
. There are more male same-sex couples (540/o)
than female same-sex couples (460/o) in . Individuals in same-sex couples in California are
California.s significantly more likely to be employed than
married individuals: 760/o of individuals in same-
. Individuals in same-sex couples are, on average, sex couples are employed, compared to 620/o of
41 years old, and signiflcantly younger than married individuals.
individuals in married couples (47 years old) in
Contrary to a popular stereotype, the annual . The average income gap between same-sex
earnings of men in same-sex couples are similar to partners in California is 934,293, compared to
those of married men. On average, men in same-sex $33,190 for married spouses.
couples in California earn 954,175 each year, slightly
less than $54,386 for married men. The median . 29o/o of same-sex and 300/o of married couples in
income of men in same-sex and married couples in California have at least one paftner who is disabled.
California is 940,000.
. 7o/o of same-sex couples in California have at least
Women in same-sex couples in California earn an one partner who is age 65 or older, compared to
average of 941,453 per year (with a median of L7o/o of married couples,
$33,900), more than married women, whose
earnings average 930,308 (with a median of SAME-SEX COUPLES IN CALIFORNIA HAVE
$24,000), Women in same-sex couples earn less HIGHER HOUSEHOLD INCOMES BUT LOWER
than married men as well as men in same-sex RATES OF HOMEOWNERSHIP THAN MARRIED
couples. COUPLES
Average Individual Earnings
. The median income of same-sex coupled households
$s4,175 $s4,386 in California is 977,000, compared to 962,800 for
married couples. The average household income of
same-sex couples is 998,445, compared to 982,551
for married couples.
Household Incomes


I Same.Sex .: Married

. Individuals in same-sex and married couples in

California are most likely to work in the private
sector: 690/o of individuals in same-sex and married
couples work in the private sector; L7o/o of Median Mean

individuals in same-sex couples work in the public I Same-Sex :, Married

sector, compared to 160lo of married individuals; and
130/o of individuals in same-sex couples are self- . Same-sex couples are signifìcantly less likely than
employed, compared to L4o/o of married individuals. married couples to own their homes: 55o/o of same-
sex couples in California own their home, compared
. Individuals insame-sex couples are significantly to 70o/o of married couples.
more likely to have a college degree: 460/o of
individuals in same-sex couples, and29o/o of married SAME-SEX COUPLES ARE RAISING CHILDREN IN
individuals have earned a college degree. CALIFORNTA, yET WITH FEWER ECONOMTC
. Despite the military's historic policies of excludlng
gay men and lesbians from service, individuals in . l8o/o of same-sex couples in California are raising
same-sex couples have served in the military: 110/o children under the age of 18.
of individuals in same-sex couples are veterans/
compared to 130/o of married individuals. . As of 2005, an estimated 37,3L1 of California's
children are living in households headed by same-
SIMILAR TO MARRIED COUPLES . In California, married and same-sex couples with
children under 18 in the home have, on average, 2
. Couples in which one partner does not work or children.
earns significantly less than the other paftner may
indicate financia l interdependen ce. 25o/o of same-sex . 1070 of California's adopted children (or 16,458
couples have only one wage earner, compared to children) live with a lesbian or gay parent.s
34o/o of married couples.
, 360/oof California's same-sex parents have one
wage earner, compared to 390/o of married parents.
Household (With Children) Incomes
Same-sex parents have fewer financial resources
to suppot their children than married parents in
California. The median household income of
same-sex couples with children is $57,040, or 60lo
lower than that of married parents ($60,940). The
average household income of same-sex couples
with children is $72,L43, significantly less than
+79,453 for married parents.

While 480/o of same-sex couples with children own

the¡r home, a significantly larger percentage of
married parents (640lo) own their home, I Same-Ss t Maried


Census data provide valuable information about gay and lesbian couples in California. While in many respects
California's same-sex couples look like married couples, same-sex couples with children have fewer economic
resources to provide for their families than married parents and lower rates of homeownership.

Same-SeÍr'1:", . MaÎrièd l. .'::-.:-r: li:i:.:::.:::.:' :

"' :'.'.' Sãmese)(,..:r,.: r..Mâniedr', :,r . :

Race/Ethnicitye At least gne partner 65 or olderl . 7,0o/o !7,3o/o

- Whiteï: .'; 70';3o/o ',5511o/a Perçént-disabled l,:',. 1.1..'.;,.;,:,,,.,:' ;:,.:,,: .'

. .. .: ..
4.!o/o 4.0o/o
Average household income* '$98,445., :
. .......:
.... .
': ¡ Hispanlct-' L8,2:o1o 'zsi;;góli
M ;nffi i¿ø ra' iiaiiñ.., :,'
- ..:'.,'.:$77,A40',.,.,:,,.: fi67¡800
Asian* 4.Qo/o t2.30/o
Average income gap $344s3 1$3lr1sg
American Ind¡an/Alaskan Native ' ,0.60/o 0,5o/o
Single wáge eàrñè¡t:
'r :' - : ., ..'342o/o
Otherx 3.00/o 2'3o/o
Homeownership 55.2o/o 70,Lo/o
Average agex , .4t,5 46,9
Pefcent vùith,childreä,undèr 181:
Percent w¡th college degree or betterx 45.7o/o 28.70/o *
P"'àmp¡ovi¿¿*''' " " " :' :' '76,2o/(i 61.7% ^
D¡ff€rence sign¡ficant at the 5olo level or better (two-ta¡led tests),
D¡fference signifìcant at f¡e 100/o level or better (wúo-tailed tests),


Privateemployef.t.:,r:. . ': ,: :; ,'. .: ;,9!',!o1s ,'.68.9%

Public employer 17,2o/o !6.40/o

..' :: '..
Self-employed^ ,:13i30/o L4,3o/o

Veteran stafus* !7.20/o L3.40/o

Avèrage-;individuálsalary', ; rI : 1'. : ,.
. , .,., a': :

Men $54,L75 $54,386 Aver:age household income

Womenx $4L,453 $30,308

(parenb)x 572,t43 $79,453
tqea¡añ tióùséhold ìncome, r a : :. ..t..: : :. .::..

Med¡an individual salary (paient5).1''r:1.: 't': :'.; :;,. :.;. :... .'.;.;...:;,,.,.;1t $57,940 :''i:.:::.' .' :: $60;940
' .'
Men.;. '...'., ,,:,,a.,. , .:..'....:., r, .i$40,000:r .:, . I $40,000 Homeownership
(perents)+ ,

Women $33,900 $24;000 * Dlfference significant at the 5% level or b€tter (two-blled tests).-
x Difference signif¡cant at the 590 level or better (two-tailed tesb). :xtDiréiè'rióe éiôrìtrrcahtã¡ t¡e:19%:,1êvè1,ôi: béttei (wúo:tãlletf tests).;r,:;:,r:
Á Difference sig'irificant atlfie.1Qvo. levél ôi better.(two:tailed:testÉ):
..,.::,...:., .., .: ,,.:..:..::,: ,,, .:,percent of:samg- ::, ;,,, .;' :.
;. ." ;,.,,;, : -,.t ..,: - -Pçrcent qf same'
Number of S¡me: .,seÍ_éòuples:out, Numbêr. of-samg: . sex.couples.out
..,r_'. :, sex. couples of all, households sex couples
Coun¡y '
of all households,
Alameda 5884 L,l2o/o Sonoma 2r25 L.230/o
nlPine : : ' ') . , 0,41a/o Stanislaus 849 ' 0.580/o
Amador 62 0.49o/o Sutter L26 0.47o/o
Butte:. , ,:,,: t:.,-,. , .: . ,,: ' .428 .:
,:, ,' ."..;, ' 9.5;40¡o Tehama .
74 . ' 0.35g/o
Calaveras B5 0,52o/o Trinity 24 0,43o/o
CqlUsã,, :.:...:. .:..,..::.'., ;,: .,:;;' .1.: 27,;,'., .,: ,. .,:.,,.0.A4a/o lulâre 696 t.:t .. :. .1.0.63%.
Conüa'Costa ' ' 2722 0.79o/o Tuolumne 104 0,50o/o
. oel ÑoÈétr.r. .,': .'r: ',' :,i.': :'.',, :,:',,t42 :, : ,-., :, .',,'' ,,.0;16o/c ventuiã.:, L382 0.57o/o
,. , .
Ei . 351 . 0,600/o Yolo 396 0.670/o
Frel:ío ::.',
.: ::'
:':.: .,: :.: : t : :,...'.: ,.,':!594:, , :,. :,..::.,:,,.:a 0t63o/a \.uþat.,..: .,:: :'rnz :,,' , ' 0.5ô%
'',,, ..:t.
Glenn 33 0.36%
Humboldt'.,,.' :',',.' :::'- : ::3rj}.. :' . . ..::',:: , ': :¡i,iùj/e
Imperial 205 0.52a/o
ínyoìi':" ,," , ' '.. . ..45.,., ,, , , '0,58o/o
Kern L744 0.55%
:Ki¡gs 1',,,,.,,.t ,..,, ,,,.,, , t.;,
:: ;1:'.. :2g¡ ' : :,.: .a:":: O;58Ô/O
Lake 196 0.820/o
: .. --,
.,:. :. 42- ':::
:,.:., ;, ,.., 0,44.o/o
Los Angeles 25L73 0.80o/o
'VAderâ' ., :,.".t
t' tt'. ' :;:,,,,1,;,':,;;1'265
;; ::1 : , a: :,::;,:' 0:73d/o
Marin 1052 L,05o/o
'Mafip-ósa'1:, ::,,,: : :,.,:
i,,,,,rrt :,
:,, :. :,.::,:SQ:, .
Mendocino 284 0.85o/o
:l,l: ' .;" ;':';:, , .:.,. .,,.,., 0,57t/o,
" =*
20 . 0.53o/o
MohOt,.rl :,:.:: ,. ,t. :t'27' : : .,',..', 0',,53.o/o'
Monterey 911 0.75o/o
,Napa: t'',-' r '-'-.,ì::ì., , , : .,..'..' :.'.,,..,.3L5 r',,. :'.: ,',,
, :.,,..:0,69!lp
Nevàda 273 '0,58ó/o
Qrànþe-;', .,,,,,r,.,,, . ',,' :''',,.is.14 ::, , . r0,5-99l-.o
Þlaòèr, ,
'.,47.2 0,SLo/o
Plumas . ,r . .'., , r' .:.,. ,
' '".:':"37'' ,
: ',: :'0'.4I9/o
Riveiside : ::- . . t '4242 . , ..O,B4o/o
Sáðrãliénto:' ;'r''. : : ã53!,,, '. ',;
;11], ;',;;.,:: ;,. ;',.:.,,.,1;; ¡.A',7g0¡o.,
" t' ,..., 0,63o/a
San Benito 100, '
S4n.Be¡íar(l¡ô.,1¡.;:, ;';';;,;:,,. 2þ'ä8,,,: ;;
:.:.,:..:: a'.: ,,:,o,:ÈtólJ
San Diego 7M5 0,77o/o
San rFrán¿ísiór.,, ..,, .':ì.iìi r.'8902':l.l ::t : r.:.' 2r7o¡o,
San Joaquin ' 1139 0,630/o
San.Luis Ob¡spô' r ,.. : ..' ,.:r 500 .l ,,:, ,,,.,:,, :, ., A:54o/p
San Mateo 2058 0.810/o
Sànta:Barbara,' i :.r.': :-.;1:,. :,99j2.: '
;;,,,;.,: 0,6!,0.19
Santa,Clara 3932 0.690/o
sanüt Lruz a. : ::.. :.:.:.979: :. :. ,:, ,::..,:, :: :: 1,,07O/O,
Shasta 279 0,44o/o
S.íér,rá¡ ::, :'.::',':,', :t.':,;. ,:,.',...,.,,;'., 8.,',. .. .,::;.::.::
, : ),,, :OrS3o./!
5rsKryou 93 ' 0.500/o
Solanor,.,,. , :,1: r. . t.., ..::; ...:.a
9.L7: ,:. :.::'::O,JOO/a
About the Authors

Adam P. Romero is Public Policy Fellow at the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law. J,D. Yale Law School;
A.8., summa cum laude, Cornell University, His current research examines the significance of family in society
and law, especially as relevant to disabled adults without family.

UCLA School of Law. l.D. Yale Law School; 8.4.,

Clifford J. Rosky is Research Fellow at the Williams Inst¡tute,
summa cum laude, Amherst College. His current research examines the significance of gender in family law
cases involving lesbian and gay parents,

M.V. Lee Badgett is Research Director at the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, and Director of the
Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she is also on
the faculty of the Department of Economics. Ph,D UC Berkeley. She studies family policy and employment
discrimination related to sexual orientation,

Gary J. Gates is Senior Research Fellow at the Williams Institute, UCI-A School of Law. Ph.D Carnegie Mellon.
He studies the demographic and economic characteristics of the lesbian and gay population,

Unless othen¡rise noted, we calculate the demographic characteristics from the Census 2000 Public Use Microdata
Sample (50/o file) avaibble from the U.S. Census Bureau. For a detailed discussion of the Census 2000 methodology
used in this report, see Census Snapshot: Methods Note, available af,edu/williamsinstitute/
publications/MethodologicalDetailsForCensusSnapshots,pdf, In
estimating numbers of same-sex couples and
children raised by same-sex couples, however, we use the total number of same-sex couples from 2005 and the
proportion of couples with children from 2000 in order to provide a more up-to-date estimate.
2 Tavia Simmons & Matin OConnell, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau, Maried-Couple and
llnmanied-PaftnerHouseholds, Census 2000 Special Repods, CENSR-S, p.4, tab. 2 (Feb.2003).
Gary J. Gates, The Williams Institute, Same-sex Couples and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Population: New Estimates
from the American Community Suruey (2006), p. Lt, apx. l, available af
williamsinstitute/publications/SameSexCouplesandGlBpopACS.pdf, Sample sizes for individual states in 2005 are not
sufficiently large for the analyses presented in this report, we therefore use data from Census 2000 where samples
are on average five times larger than 2005.
Simmons & O'Connell, supra note 2.
6 U.S, Census Bureau, lJnmarried Partner Households by Sex of Partners, PCT14. Percentages of total households
computed by dividing data in PCI14 by data in P15 (total households).
7 Computed by multiplying the number of same-sex couples times the percent of same-sex couples with children
times the average number of children under 18 in the household,
t Gary J. Gates, M,V. Lee Badgett, Kate Chambers, Jennifer Macomber, The Williams Institute & The Urban
Institute, Adoption and Foster Gre by Gay and Lesbian Parents in the United States (2007), available at
Due to rounding, percent may not add to 100.

For more information, contact:

The Williams Institute
UCLA School of Law
Box 951476
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
r (3to)2674382
F (310)82s-7270
www. law. ucla,edu/wi ll iamsi nstitute