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How same-sex couples differ from opposite-sex couples

LOS ANGELES – The U.S. has nearly 650,000 same-sex couples, of which about 114,100 are legally married and more than 108,600 are in civil unions or registered domestic partnerships.

A new research brief released by Gary Gates, Distinguished Scholar at UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute, summarizes the demographic characteristics of same-sex couples and compares them to different-sex couples.

The analyses highlight trends and changes in the demographic diversity of same-sex couples and assess the degree to which similar changes are occurring among different-sex couples.

Key findings

• Children: As of 2011, about one in five same-sex couples are raising children under age 18. Among different-sex couples the proportion with children is 43.5%.

• Race/Ethnicity: About a quarter of individuals in same-sex couples are non-white and they are generally as racially and ethnically diverse as those in different-sex couples, though individuals in same-sex couples are less likely to be Asian, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.

• Veterans: About 13% of same-sex couples include a veteran, and slightly less than 1% include a spouse or partner who has been on active duty in the last year.

• Health Insurance: Same-sex couples are less likely than different-sex couples to have both spouses or partners covered by health insurance (76.5% vs. 84%, respectively), and twice as likely to have only one spouse or partner insured (17% vs. 8%, respectively).

The report is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), 2005 through 2011.

Click HERE to read the full report.