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Federal government inflated census figures for same-sex married couples

September 27, 2011 |  3:07 pm

Wedding-ring
The 2010 census overestimated the number of households with same-sex married couples by more than 160%, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Tuesday.

Officials said the numbers released this summer were incorrect because of an “inconsistency in responses … that artificially inflated the number of same-sex couples,” according to a news release.

The inconsistency apparently occurred because residents may have checked the wrong box when responding to questions about their relationship to the householder and the sex of each person living there.

“When data were captured for these two questions on the 2010 census door-to-door form, the wrong box may have been checked for the sex of a small percentage of opposite-sex spouses and unmarried partners,” according to the agency. “Because the population of opposite-sex married couples is large and the population of same-sex married couples in particular is small, an error of this type artificially inflates the number of same-sex married partners.”

The 2010 census first reported that there were 349,377 same-sex married-couple households and 552,620 same-sex unmarried-partner households across the country.

On Tuesday officials said they had revised the count to 131,729 same-sex married-couple and 514,735 same-sex unmarried-partner households.

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--Ari Bloomekatz

Photo: Associated Press

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