Skip Header
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Surveys and Programs Contributing to Same-Sex Couples

Listed below are the three surveys and one census that provide Census Bureau’s statistics on same-sex couples. Following a general description of each program are specifics related to this topic.

American Community Survey (ACS)

The American Community Survey (ACS) is an annual, nationwide survey of more than 3.5 million households in the U.S. The ACS is part of the Decennial Census Program and replaces the long form, which the Census Bureau last used during Census 2000. The survey produces statistics on demographic, social, economic, and other characteristics about our nation's population and housing. We release ACS 1-year estimates in September for the pervious calendar year and 5-year estimates in December for the previous five calendar years.

Data about same-sex couples are available for the U.S., states, counties, selected metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas, and selected zip codes from 2000 to the present.

American Housing Survey (AHS)

The purpose of the American Housing Survey (AHS) is to provide a current and continuous series of data on selected housing and demographic characteristics.

Policy analysts, program managers, budget analysts, and Congressional staff use AHS data to monitor supply and demand, as well as changes in housing conditions and costs, in order to assess housing needs. Analyses based on the AHS are used to advise the executive and legislative branches in the development of housing policies. HUD uses the AHS to improve efficiency and effectiveness and design housing programs appropriate for different target groups, such as first-time home buyers and the elderly. Academic researchers and private organizations also use AHS data in efforts of specific interest and concern to their respective communities.

Current Population Survey (CPS)

The Current Population Survey (CPS) is the primary source of labor force statistics for the population of the U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics sponsors the survey, and the U.S. Census Bureau conducts the data each month. The CPS involves a sample of about 60,000 occupied households. Households are in the survey for four consecutive months, out for eight, and then return for another four months before leaving the sample permanently.

The Current Population Survey (CPS) has collected data about same-sex couples since 1995.

Due to small sample size, these data are not tabulated for the annual table package published on the website. Raw data files are available to data users. Beginning in January of 2010, changes to the demographic edit improved the estimates of same-sex couples in the CPS.

Decennial Census

The decennial census counts every resident in the U.S. once every ten years, in years ending in zero. The Constitution of the United States mandates the head count to make sure each state can fairly represent its population in the U.S. House of Representatives. States use the numbers to draw their legislative districts. The federal government uses them to distribute funds and assistance to states and localities.

Data about same-sex couples are available for the U.S., 50 states and the District of Columbia, counties, and subcounty statistical areas (such as zip codes and block groups) from 1990 to the present.

Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP)

The Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) provides information on the distribution of income and the success of government assistance programs. SIPP data provide the most extensive information available on how the nation’s economic well-being changes over time. The sample survey is a continuous series of national panels, each ranging from approximately 14,000 to 53,000 interviewed households. The duration of each panel ranges from 2 ½ years to 4 years.

Data on same-sex couples were collected beginning in 1996. Due to small sample size these data are not shown in published tabulations on the website. Raw data files are available to data users.


Back to Header