With communities around the country and across the world celebrating Pride Month, we take a look at the state of same-sex households in Massachusetts.
According to data released last month by the US Census Bureau, 33,488, or 1.2 percent, of the state’s 2.7 million households were same-sex couple households.
That’s higher than the national average. Nationally, 0.9 percent of households were same-sex couple households, according to data from the 2020 Census.
Here’s a breakdown of Massachusetts households, including so-called opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples, people living alone, and people living with someone who is neither a spouse nor a partner.
The state’s same-sex households included 20,940 where the same-sex partners were married, according to the Census data. Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage after a 2003 Supreme Judicial Court decision.
In 2020, the Census for the first time allowed people to check boxes indicating whether they were “same-sex” or “opposite-sex” spouses or unmarried partners.
The community in Massachusetts that had the highest proportion of same-sex households by far — 21 percent — was Provincetown, the town at the far end of Cape Cod long known as an LGBTQ enclave. Neighboring Truro was in second place with 8.3 percent.
Here’s a map of the proportion of same-sex households in each Massachusetts city and town.
Here’s a breakdown of all types of households in each Massachusetts city and town.
Nationally, the Census said, people are now less likely to live with romantic partners than in previous decades. The share of coupled households declined to 53.2 percent of total households from 55.1 percent in 2010, and 56.9 percent in 2000.
Opposite-sex married couples accounted for 45.7 percent of total households. Other types of couples accounted for smaller proportions, including opposite-sex unmarried (6.5 percent), same-sex married (0.5 percent) and same-sex unmarried (0.4 percent).
The new data on same-sex married and unmarried couples was expected to help inform public policy on issues affecting LGBTQ people.
But many LGBTQ people, including those not living with a partner or in different-sex relationships, remain invisible in Census data, NPR reported last month.
The Census has never asked for a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity on its decennial official census.
“A lot is tied to Census Bureau data,” Kerith Conron, research director of the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, told NPR. “Being invisible in those systems or only sort of partially counted is, I think, problematic.” She estimated that less than 20 percent of LGBTQ people live in same-sex couple households.
During the Trump administration, proposed questions on sexual orientation and gender identity were removed from a draft of the 2020 Census, sparking outrage from activists. Efforts to get the questions onto the Census’s American Community Survey were also stalled, though they have now been revived by the Biden administration, NPR reported.