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Seattle Times news librarian Gene Balk crunches the numbers

Topic: sexual orientation

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September 27, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Seattle overtakes San Francisco as No.1 city for gay couples

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Move over, San Francisco.

Seattle now has the highest concentration of gay-couple households among America’s large cities.

Recently-released estimates from the Census Bureau show that in 2012, 2.6 percent of Seattle households were gay couples.  That is the highest percentage among the 50 most populous cities in the United States.

San Francisco, which had held the top spot since the Census Bureau began counting same-sex couples in 2000, ranked second with 2.5 percent of all households.

It’s a sharp reversal from previous census estimates.  In 2011, San Francisco had 2.4 percent gay-couple households to Seattle’s 1.7.

We are still No. 2 to San Francisco, however, for the percentage of gay-male households.  But Seattle claimed the top city for the percentage of lesbian couples by a relatively wide margin.  With lesbian couples making up 1.2 percent of households in 2012, Seattle was the only large city to exceed 1 percent.

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Comments | More in Demographics | Topics: Census, gay, sexual orientation

October 7, 2012 at 4:00 PM

Just how gay is Seattle?

Seattle during Gay Pride, 2006 (photo by Lsc2seattle via Wikimedia Commons)

The battle is heating up over Referendum 74, which will ask voters to decide if the new law allowing same-sex marriage in Washington should be upheld.  The people who will be most immediately affected by the outcome of this vote, naturally, are gay men and lesbians.

So just how many people would that be here in Washington and in Seattle?

It would be nice if there were good, solid data to answer that question, but there really aren’t.   The Census Bureau doesn’t ask about sexual orientation directly.   There are some surveys of the gay population, but the best they can do is approximate an overall figure for the country, not for individual states, counties and cities.

However, there is a relevant question that the Census Bureau does ask, and it at least hints at an answer.

Since 1990, the Census has asked Americans if they are in a same-sex partner household.   Theoretically, we can assume that there is a correlation between the percentage of same-sex partner households and the overall gay population of a particular place; in other words, the more gay couples, the more gay people.

A think tank based at UCLA, the Williams Institute, crunched the Census data to derive the percent of same-sex couples in states, counties, cities and towns across the nation.

So what do we learn from the Census about the current state of gay Washington?

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Comments | More in Demographics | Topics: elections, gay, lesbian