Report profiles gay couples
The study finds the number of same-sex pairs rising in Hawaii
Same-sex couples across the state are a growing segment of the population, and likely face the same economic pressures as married couples, according to a new study released this week.
The study by the Williams Institute, part of the University of California, Los Angeles, said same-sex couples who are raising children are also on the rise across the state.
"The key point, I think, is ... that same-sex couples are very similar to married couples," said Adam Romero, Public Policy Fellow and one of the authors of the paper.
"Ultimately, we hope the report better informs the discussion about (lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender) people and their rights, which seem to proceed in many ways on the assumption that LBGT people are all affluent and well-off," Romero added in an e-mailed response to questions.
According to the Williams Institute report, which culled data from the U.S. Census Bureau, about 3,262 same-sex couples were identified in the census report, and constitute about 1 percent of the coupled households in the state.
That's up from 2,389 couples identified in the 2000 census data, the Williams Institute report stated.
And more same-sex couples are raising children, as well -- from 502 couples with kids identified in 2000, to 685 in 2005, Romero said. As of 2005, an estimated 1,164 Hawaii children are being raised in same-sex households.
But, according to the census numbers, men in same-sex couples earn roughly 30 percent less than married men and the median income of women in same-sex couples is 17 percent less than that of married women.
And those averages are despite the fact that people in same-sex couples are significantly more likely to have a college degree: Some 41 percent of individuals in same-sex couples and 28 percent of married individuals have earned a college degree, according to the report.
Also, despite the military's current policies, 11 percent of individuals in same-sex couples in the state are veterans, according to the report. The data, the report states, are contrary to the popular stereotype that only well-to-do gay and lesbian couples raise children.
"This is the first time we -- or anyone, as far as I know -- has put out reports such as this at the state level," Romero said.
"We hope these reports give a better picture of the real people directly affected by the outcomes of those debates" over gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights, which often take place at the state level, he added.
There are 41,785 gay, lesbian and bisexual people (single and coupled) living in Hawaii, according to the report.