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Atlanta still LGBTQ capital of South, but Census reveals decline in households

David Pendered
The City of Atlanta officially supports the LGBTQ community, and expressed the support with the presence firefighters and equipment in the 2017 Pride Parade. Credit: Kelly Jordan

By David Pendered

A decline in the estimated number of same-sex partner unmarried households in metro Atlanta, as the Census reports, does not appear to have affected Atlanta’s reputation as an LGBTQ capital, nor diminished turnout for the weekend’s Pride Parade and Dyke March, and related festivals.

The City of Atlanta officially supports the LGBTQ community, and expressed the support with the presence firefighters and equipment in the 2017 Pride Parade. Credit: Kelly Jordan

Regardless of the numbers in the city and region, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms observes of the city government’s official relationship with the community:

  • “The LGBTQ capital of the South, we are proud that a diverse and thriving LGBTQ community chooses to call Atlanta home. We work hard to best serve all LGBTQ individuals who live, work, and play in Atlanta.…
  • “We were proud to install the permanent Rainbow Crosswalks (intersection of 10th Street NE and Piedmont Avenue NE) in 2017, dedicated in remembrance of the 49 LGBTQ+ lives lost in the horrific 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting.”

The decline the number of same-sex partner households in metro Atlanta occurred between 2013 and 2018, according to estimates reported in the American Community Survey. The ACS observes on demographic trends in the years between the decennial Census.

Meantime, the ACS marked an increase in metro Atlanta in two related categories – the number of households established by unmarried men and women residing together, and the total number of households.

The number of unmarried-partner households among male-male and female-female situations declined from 2013 to 2018, according to the American Community Survey. Credit: ACS, David Pendered

These numbers stem from a Sept. 20 report by the Census. This national overview observed on where same-sex couples reside, but did not include metro Atlanta. The Census Bureau provided a report on metro Atlanta in response to a request.

The ACS estimates on same-sex households are tallied through a question on how each person in a residence is related to the householder – who can own or rent the dwelling, according to the Sept. 20 report from the Census.

The 2013 ACS reports that metro Atlanta had 5,949 unmarried male-male households and 5,191 unmarried female-female households. Five years later, in 2018, the numbers dropped to 5,563 unmarried male-male households, and 4,007 unmarried female-female households.

During the period, the number of male-female partnered households rose from an estimated 89,822 households to and estimated 108,919 households. The total number of households rose from 1.95 million to 2.14 million, according to the ACS.

During the five-year period, estimates of same-sex unmarried households in metro Atlanta varied significantly.

The Census emphasizes that the estimates are just that – estimates. Results could be affected by the voluntary answers respondents provide. Margins of error are available in the ACS annual reports. In addition, the Census’ latest report on the category of unmarried same-sex households does not appear to make specific mention of the impact of the Supreme Court ruling in 2015 that legalized same-sex marriage.

The Census Bureau reports it has been working for a decade to improve the measurement of same-sex couples. A revised question was posed in the 2019 ACS and it is to be included in the 2020 Census.

The greatest proportions of same-sex couple households are located in urban areas, according to the American Community Survey. Credit: ACS

The Census observed in the report that the, “improved measure will allow the Census Bureau to further explore the characteristics of same-sex households, as well as the cities they’re in.”

The Sept. 20 report provided this national perspective:

  • “Compared with opposite-sex couples, same-sex couples are more likely to have higher incomes, have both people employed, and be more educated. They are also more likely to be interracial, but they’re less likely to have children living with them.
  • “Same-sex married couples tend to be younger than opposite-sex married couples and less likely to own their home. Yet, same-sex unmarried partners tend to be older than their opposite-sex counterparts, and more likely to own their home.”

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David Pendered
David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.

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4 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Jasonb84 October 14, 2019 4:38 am

    I’m a gay person, let me explain partly why. If you were an openly gay person, would you really want to live in a southern red state if you could choose? There’s simply too many uneducated people who choose to believe in lies and myths about LGBT people, rather than logic and commonsense. Good bye Atlanta.Report

    Reply
  2. Avatar
    Steve Hagen October 15, 2019 9:59 am

    My thought is that many same sex couples as they mature and especially those who have children choose to save money on housing and move to suburbs like straight couples do raise their children. I live in Tucker and there seems to be many same sex couples with children. I guess we will fine out aftger the 2020 numbers.Report

    Reply
  3. Avatar
    Nick Hess October 15, 2019 10:47 am

    I think you have this backwards. For many years, Atlanta benefitted from being one of the few LGBTQ-friendly places in the South. I suspect that as social attitudes shift (https://news.gallup.com/poll/1651/gay-lesbian-rights.aspx), folks are more comfortable staying in their home towns and other locations.Report

    Reply
  4. Avatar
    Jack McFarland October 18, 2019 10:17 am

    1) There is no way to count all gay households in Atlanta or anywhere … this is a joke.

    2) Under Trump’s administration, anti-LGBT aggression has increased so designated gay friendly cities and areas are still very important

    3) Americans are more tolerant of LGBT people but not accepting. There’s a big difference.

    4) Atlanta is still very much the gay capital of the South. I’ve been to many cities and ATL is definitely the place to be if you’re gay.Report

    Reply

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