Photo: lobstar28 (Flickr)
A report out this week from the U.S. Census Bureau shows Indiana ranks in the middle of the pack both nationally and in the Midwest in terms of its number of same-sex couples.
Out of nearly 650,000 same-sex households reported to the Census Bureau last year, just more than 11,000 of those are in Indiana. That equates to about 4.5 same-sex couples for every 1,000 households in the state – 20 percent less than the national average.
UCLA demographer Gary Gates has been studying the data and says a state like Indiana that does not recognize gay marriage has a harder time defining some statistics, including those people who indicated on their census forms they were “married.”
“A same-sex couple can go into a church in Indiana,” Gates says. “I’m sure there are churches in Indiana who will marry them – and yet the government doesn’t recognize it. So…are they married?”
More than 1,600 Hoosier couples indicate they are married, but Gates says terms like “husband” or “wife” end up getting in the way.
“We found that among the couples – this a national statistic– among the couples who used the term ‘husband and wife’, 30 percent of them weren’t legally married,” he says.
Gates says across the country, about 80 percent more households identify as being run by a same-sex couple than in 2000. Same-sex couple households in Indiana increased 61 percent. Only five Indiana counties – Brown, Floyd, Marion, Monroe and Vanderburgh – reported more than the national average of five-and-a-half same-sex couples per thousand households.