[Press release: 1990 census to include gay-related question; same-sex couples urged to check "unmarried partner"] Page: 1 of 4
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N A T I O N A L G A Y & L E S B I A N T A S K F O R C E
1517 U STREET NW WASHINGTON, DC 20009 202/332-6483
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Robert Bray or Ivy
1990 CENSUS TO INCLUDE GAY-RELATED QUESTION;
SAME-SEX COUPLES URGED TO CHECK "UNMARRIED PARTNER"
Washington, D.C., Feb. 27...For the first time in history, the
1990 Census includes a question that can be used to count the
number of lesbian and gay couples across the country.
Beginning the last week of March, the Census Bureau will
distribute its decennial questionnaire to every household. The
relationship section of the survey -- which asks for information
on how people in households are related -- includes the
designation "unmarried partner," along with "roomer/boarder,"
housemate/roommate" and other designations.
According to the Census Bureau, the unmarried partner category
will distinguish between persons who share a household for
economic reasons and those people who share households "for more
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) Families
Project is urging gay and lesbian couples living in committed
relationships to answer the census honestly and check off the
unmarried partner designation. NGLTF has also launched a
campaign to increase public awareness of the question and
pressure the Census Bureau to be more sensitive to gay and
According to sources, the new unmarried partner category is an
attempt by the Census Bureau to get an accurate count of the
number of heterosexual couples living together without "benefit
By simple deduction, including gender-specific names of
household members or gender designation, Census officials will
also be able to determine the number of same-sex couples living
together. Both sets of figures -- same-sex and heterosexual --
will be published. There is no question on the 1990 Census that
measures sexual orientation of individuals.
"The struggle to have our relationships and our families
recognized and protected will assume much greater urgency in the
decade to come," said Ivy Young, Director of the NGLTF Families
Project. "Accurate statistics gathered from the 1990 Census
could provide us with an important weapon to help wage that
According to Young, public and private industry programs are
affected by census data, as well as social and economic policy,
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National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (U.S.). [Press release: 1990 census to include gay-related question; same-sex couples urged to check "unmarried partner"], text, February 27, 1990; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc916714/m1/1/: accessed May 25, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.