Make Your Family Count
Mar 17, 2010 at 09:42 am
This year same-sex couples have an important opportunity to stand up and be counted.
The U.S. Census is conducting a survey to get a more accurate count of all Americans and households including same-sex couples and their families.
The information collected by the Census is confidential, but crucial because it will be used by federal and state governments to set congressional district boundaries and to distribute billions of dollars in social services. The Census is also used by researchers and commentators, and is a powerful way to make our families more visible and thus more respected.
The power of the Census makes it critical that we be part of it – which begins with you filling out and returning the form.
This year’s Census form asks just 10 questions. There are two key sections for identifying as a same-sex couple.
Step One: Identifying “Person 1” and “Person 2”
The Census form asks you to list the person who owns or rents the house as "Person 1" and then indicate how everyone in the household is related to "Person 1". In order to be counted as a same-sex couple, one of the partners must be listed as "Person 1." The other partner should be designated as "Person 2."
Step Two: Husband or Wife vs. Unmarried Partner
Same-sex couples who have been legally married or consider themselves to be spouses should identify the ”Person 2” as a "husband or wife". Those terms fit some - but certainly not all - LGBT households or all same-sex couples.
Other same-sex couples, for example, may be more comfortable using the term "unmarried partner." In general, this term is designed to capture couples who are in a "close personal relationship" and are not legally married or do not think of themselves as spouses.
Census forms do not provide an option to explicitly designate a couple as united by civil union or a public domestic partner registry - but "unmarried partner" would help such couples be counted.