Study: Asheville, Durham, Carrboro lead N.C. in same-sex couples per capita

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North Carolina is home to 27,250 same-sex couples, 7.28 per 1,000 households, according to a 2010 Census-driven study released today by the UCLA Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Law and Public Policy.

The report, part of a larger effort focusing on all 50 states, found that Buncombe County (15.52 couples per 1,000) and Asheville (19.72) are the most gay-friendly county and city, respectively. Durham County and the City of Durham were second on both lists, and 1,232 of the county’s 1,391 gay couples reside in the Bull City. Orange was fourth and Carrboro was third.

Williams Distinguished Scholar Gary Gates is studying the 2010 Census for national and statewide data on same-sex couples.
  • Photo courtesy of UCLA
  • Williams Distinguished Scholar Gary Gates is studying the 2010 Census for national and statewide data on same-sex couples.
Unfortunately the 1990 and 2000 census don’t provide apples-to-apples data to compare and the Institute has only released reports on 11 states thus far, but for some context, San Francisco has 33 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.

Study author Gary Gates, the distinguished scholar at the Williams Institute, says the N.C. report backs up anecdotal evidence that Asheville, which sits in Buncombe, is one of the most accepting areas in the state.

Authors also noted that 64 percent of North Carolina’s same-sex couples are female and that 77 percent of the couples are not raising children.

“A pattern that I think is true in N.C. that we’ve observed in other states is that thought it’s often true that rural and more conservative parts of the state have proportionally fewer same-sex couples than urban areas, the same-sex couples that live in rural areas are much more likely to be raising children,” Gates e-mailed from Spain where he is traveling until next week.

He explained that most of those children come from prior relationships—only 19 percent were adopted, according to the 2009 American Community Survey—and that people come out later in life in conservative areas.

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