SAN FRANCISCO — Same-sex couples who identify as married are similar to straight spouses in terms of age and income, and nearly one-third of them are raising children, according to Census data released Monday that provides a demographic snapshot of gay families in America.
The study released by a think tank based at UCLA also found that Utah and Wyoming were among the states with the highest percentages of gay spouses in 2008, despite being heavily conservative states with no laws providing legal recognition of gay relationships.
The data from the annual American Community Survey showed that nearly 150,000 same-sex couples in the U.S., or more than one in four, referred to one another as "husband" or "wife," although UCLA researchers estimate that no more than 32,000 of the couples were legally married.
The couples had an average age of 52 and household incomes of $91,558, while 31 percent were raising children. That compares with an average age of 50, household income of $95,075 and 43 percent raising children for married heterosexual couples.
"It's intrinsically interesting that same-sex couples who use the term spouses look like opposite-sex married couples even with a characteristic like children," said Gary Gates, the UCLA demographer who conducted the analysis. "Most proponents of traditional marriage will say that when you allow these couples to marry, you are going to change the fundamental nature of marriage by decoupling it from procreation. Clearly, in the minds of same-sex couples who are marrying or think of themselves as married, you are not decoupling child-rearing from marriage."