US-Map-SS-Couples-Census-2010

An estimate of same sex couples according to the 2010 Census.

Three reports released by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law are a boon to same-sex families.

According to Williams Institute Research Director Gary Gates’ assessment of a new preliminary estimate from Gallup, the number of legally married same-sex couples in the United States has more than doubled over the last year. The new figures suggest that, as of February 2015, there are now about 350,000 married same-sex couples in the country.

Estimates from the 2013 National Health Interview Survey had the figure at 130,000.

“These new figures showing a surge in same-sex couples marrying across the country highlight the historic nature of the past year for LGBT individuals and their families,” said Gates, Williams’ Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar and Research Director.

Additionally, two other reports by Gates show that same-sex couples, particularly married ones, are more likely to be raising adopted or foster children than their different-sex counterparts.

“The debates about marriage and same-sex couples have focused substantial attention on the idea that marriage is a great environment for raising children,” he said. “Same-sex couples seem to agree. Married same-sex couples are much more likely than their unmarried counterparts to have kids, particularly adopted and foster children.”

But the reports also found that same-sex couples with children have a lower median annual income than different-sex couples with kids but, like different-sex couples, married same-sex couples are more economically secure.

The reports analyze the 2013 American Community Survey, which for the first time explicitly identified both married and unmarried same-sex couples.

Findings from the two reports will be included in a friend-of-the-court brief that will be submitted on Friday to the Supreme Court of the United States as part of the same-sex marriage cases in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.