It took major political pressure and direction from the White House, but it’s official: The 2010 U.S. Census will record and report raw data about Americans in same-sex relationships. It’s a stark departure from the Bush administration, which collected the data but barred its release.
Continuing current policy, the new guidelines state that software used by Census enumerators will recode answers given by same sex-partners who mark their relationship status as “husband or wife,” to “unmarried partner.” But then, in late 2011, Census officials will for the first time release the raw state-by-state data on same-sex couples that marked their relationship status as “husband or wife.”
The new policy marks a continued shift in how the Census handles declarations of same-sex partnerships. In 1990, enumerators made a practice of changing the sex of a person described as the husband or wife of a head of household to reflect the opposite sex. In 2000, the bureau instead edited the data to describe same-sex couples as “unmarried partners.”
The Census will first report same-sex marriage data later this year when it releases the 2008 American Community Survey. The results of the annual housing and population survey will include unedited responses regarding relationship status.
And then Nate Silver will slip the data through his magic number cruncher at FiveThirtyEight and yield fantastic trending data on how we are taking over America!