September 27, 2011 / 8:25 PM / 6 years ago

Census slashes estimate of same-sex married households

<p>Gay couple Ethan Collings (L), 32, and his spouse Stephen Abate, 36, hug as they celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary in West Hollywood, California, June 16, 2009. The couple were married when same-sex marriages were first allowed last year. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson</p>

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Census Bureau reduced its 2010 estimate for same-sex households on Tuesday -- slashing that for married partners by almost two-thirds -- citing reporting errors by census workers.

The bureau dropped its estimate for same-sex married couple households to 131,279 from 349,377, it said in a statement.

The number of estimated same-sex unmarried partner households was cut to 514,735 from 552,620, a 7 percent drop.

The bureau revised the numbers after finding that census workers had incorrectly checked boxes for relationship to householder and the sex of each person in their 2010 door-to-door count of the U.S. population.

The errors were artificially inflated given the small number of same-sex households, Martin O‘Connell, a Census Bureau family statistician, told a conference call.

The numbers were revised by using an index of names to re-estimate married and unmarried partners by the sex commonly associated with the person’s first name.

The revised results are in line with numbers from the 2010 American Community Survey, which is based on a sample of the U.S. population.

Six states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage. Thirty-nine states specifically ban it.

Vermont was the state with the highest percentage of same-sex couple households, at 1.091 percent. North Dakota had the lowest, at 0.431 percent.

The District of Columbia had 1.929 percent same-sex couple households.

Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Jerry Norton

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