Via the Charlotte Observer:
New census data released Thursday made a simple but substantial change in categorizing same-sex married couples: They now are considered families. In prior years, the U.S. Census Bureau counted such couples as “unmarried partners,” even if they were legally married. But now, starting with the new annual American Community Survey, they are in among the family totals. That picture includes nearly 56 million married-couple households in the nation last year, according to the new estimates. Same-sex couples accounted for a sliver of that total, some 251,695 homes. Same-sex couples who live together but are not married are still counted as “unmarried partners,” the same designation for unmarried opposite-sex couples. The Census Bureau has counted same-sex couples since 1990. The change in handling same-sex married couples followed the June 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, said Rose Kreider, chief of the Census Bureau’s Fertility and Family Statistics Branch. Gay married couples in states where that practice is legal must receive the same federal benefits that other married couples receive, the court ruled.
The annual version of the census surveys about 3.5 million households.