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social sciences

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Among medium sized metropolitan areas (population 200,000-500,000), Santa Rosa, California had the highest concentration of same-sex couples (1.2 percent of all households), followed by Santa Cruz, California, Portland, Maine, Madison, Wisconsin, and Asheville, North Carolina.

Among small metropolitan areas (population less than 200,000), Santa Fe, New Mexico had the highest concentration of same-sex couples (1.1 percent of all households), followed by Burlington, Vermont, Bloomington, Indiana, Iowa City, Iowa, and Barnstable-Yarmouth, Massachusetts.

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Among smaller towns, Provincetown, Massachusetts had the highest concentration of same-sex couples (12.8 percent of all households), followed by Guerneville, California, Wilton Manors, Florida, and two other California cities: West Hollywood and Palm Springs.

The top five neighborhoods (defined as zip codes) ranked by the concentration of same-sex couples among all households included Provincetown, the Castro neighborhood in San Francisco, Guerneville, the Twin Peaks neighborhood in San Francisco, and West Hollywood.

Location patterns for male and female couples differed. While California, Nevada, Florida, New York, and Georgia topped the list for states with the highest concentration of male couples, the top five states for female couples were Vermont, New Mexico, Oregon, Massachusetts, and California. Among all metropolitan areas, the top five for male couples were San Francisco, Fort Lauderdale, Santa Rosa, Seattle, and New York. The top five metropolitan areas for female couples were Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, San Francisco, and Oakland.

Location Patterns by Race/Ethnicity

More than a quarter of same-sex couples in the U.S. included a racial or ethnic minority. In general, gay or lesbian racial/ethnic minorities were more likely to cluster in areas with large numbers of similar racial/ethnic minorities than in places with high concentration of other gay male and lesbian couples.

States with the highest concentrations of African-American same-sex couples were Mississippi (1.68 per 1,000 households), Louisiana, South Carolina, Georgia, and Maryland. Among metropolitan areas, the top five in this category were Sumter, South Carolina (2.62 per 1,000 households), Albany, Georgia, Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and Florence, South Carolina.

States with the highest concentrations of Hispanic same-sex couples were New Mexico (2.28 per 1,000 households), California, Texas, Arizona, and Nevada. Four of the five top metropolitan areas in this ranking were in Texas: McAllen (5.32 per 1,000 households), Laredo, and Brownsville ranked as the top three with El Paso at fifth. Miami, Florida ranked fourth.

Gay and Lesbian Families with Children

According to Census 2000, nearly a quarter of same-sex couples in the U.S. were raising children, and these families lived in 96 percent of U.S. counties. Approximately one in five male couples were raising a child under age 18 compared to one in three female couples. There were at least 250,000 children being raised by more than 150,000 same-sex couples in the U.S.

Same-sex couples were most likely to have children in Mississippi (41 percent are raising children), followed by South Dakota, Alaska, South Carolina, and Louisiana. Among large metropolitan areas (population above 1 million), same-sex couples were most likely to have children in San Antonio, Texas (36 percent), Bergen-Passaic, New Jersey, Memphis, Tennessee, Houston, and Fort Worth, Texas.

Gay and Lesbian Seniors

Nearly 20 percent of coupled gay men and lesbians in the U.S. were at least 55 years old. The states with the highest proportion of coupled gay and lesbian seniors among adults were Vermont (1.63 per 1,000 adults), Florida, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Maine. Among metropolitan areas, the top five in this ranking were Barnstable-Yarmouth, Massachusetts (3.12 per 1,000 adults), Santa Rosa and San Francisco, California, Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Education and Income

One of the most consistent findings from demographic studies of gay men and lesbians has to do with education and income. Nearly all studies (both in the U.S. and internationally) find that gay men and lesbians have higher education levels than other men and women. Most studies also find that gay men earn less than other men and lesbians earn more than other women, even when differences in age, education, and occupation are taken into account.

One study (using data primarily from the 1990s) found that the wages of gay men were between 14 and 16 percent below the wages of other men, while the wages of lesbians were 20 to 34 percent higher than the wages of other women. It should be noted that lesbian wages were on average still lower than the wages of gay men. The same study found that gay men and lesbians had higher education levels than their heterosexual counterparts. Both gay men and lesbians had on average 14.3 years of education, compared to 13.9 years for heterosexual men and women. Findings from census data on same-sex couples show similar patterns.

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