Thursday, June 5, 2014

Census Struggles to Gather Data on Same Sex Marriages

Same-sex marriage is now legal in Washington, D.C., and 17 states. Now the federal government’s task is to produce an accurate count of same-sex married couples. Acknowledging a “very serious problem” of flawed same-sex marriage data, the U.S. Census Bureau is testing new marriage and relationship questions on its pre-Census 2020 surveys in hopes of producing more accurate numbers in the next few years.

The PEW Research Center has a very good article exploring the hurdles facing the Census Bureau in this task.

The bureau also is testing an expanded question about marital status. Now, people can choose “now married,” “widowed,” “divorced,” “separated,” or “never married.” The agency is considering adding questions about whether someone is “living with a boyfriend/girlfriend or partner,” or is “currently in a registered domestic partnership or civil union.”