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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 23, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 12
Seattle #3 in same-sex marriages, new study says Washington state also #3
Section One
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Seattle #3 in same-sex marriages, new study says Washington state also #3

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Seattle is #3 among US cities in the number of same-sex marriages, according to a new study by the Tax Policy Center, a research group based in Washington DC.

San Francisco ranked #1, followed by Santa Rosa, a city just north of San Francisco in California's Sonoma County.

There are about 9,300 same-sex married couples in the Seattle area, about 1.1% of all married couples, according to the study. Fifty-five percent of them are Lesbian couples.

Statewide, 11,200 Gay or Lesbian married couples filed joint tax returns for 2015 - and 83% of them were living in the Seattle area.

The Tax Policy Center is a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution. Their researchers used tax returns for the 2015 calendar year, the first year that gay marriage was legal nationwide, to estimate the number of same-sex married couples.

The report ranks the nation's 100 largest 'commuting zones,' which correspond more or less to the Census Bureau's 'metropolitan statistical areas.'

Boston came in behind Seattle at #4, and Portland, Oregon, came in at #5.

At the other end of the spectrum is Provo, Utah, which edged out Brownsville, Texas, for the lowest rate of same-sex married couples. Seattle's rate is more than eight times higher.

Nationally, about 250,000 gay married couples filed joint tax returns in 2015. In terms of raw numbers, the New York City area had the most same-sex married couples, with about 13,900.

Looking at state rankings, Washington ranks third, in a tie with Delaware. In both, same-sex married couples made up 0.85% of all joint tax filers. Vermont and Massachusetts had the highest rate, just about 1%. North Dakota came in last, at around one-tenth of one percent.

The report also shows that married same-sex couples have distinct demographic profiles, different from their opposite-sex counterparts. Both Gay and Lesbian married couples report higher incomes than opposite-sex couples.

They are also younger and less likely to claim dependent children, especially male couples. About 15% of same-sex marriages are interracial, more than twice the rate of opposite-sex marriages.

Nationally, same-sex couples are most concentrated in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states, the West Coast, and New Mexico.

The highest share of Gay couples are in major cities, while Lesbian couples are more concentrated in smaller cities and towns. In this respect, Seattle is an exception to the national trend.

Lesbian married couples also outnumber Gay couples, but the data show a wide range from place to place.

Among the nation's largest commuting zones, a whopping 72% of Miami's same-sex couples are Gay, while in Eugene, Oregon, 75% of the couples are Lesbian.

Washington is one of just two states - along with Hawaii - that publish both its number of recorded same-sex marriages and the state of residence of the couples. That was useful for researchers because it allowed them to test their findings against verified administrative records.

The study's estimated number of same-sex married couples for Washington came within 0.3% of the state's own record keeping, confirming the essential accuracy of the study.

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