# Are that many married homosexual men not living together? - American Community Survey

Dear IPUMS team,

I am using a sample from the American Community Survey (ACS) as provided over IPUMS.

I am specifically interested in analyzing the wage gap of male homosexual couples. To do so I created a variable (this variable is called VAR_CH going forward) to indicate if an individual is cohabitating with a same sex partner. I created this variable after the following logic:

Var_CH: Two individuals are homosexual and cohabitating if they are linked by the SPLOC variable and share the same gender.

To check the accuracy of this variable I did a cross tabulation with the variable that indicates a same sex marriage (SSMC) for the years 2013+. I noticed that of the married ~45.000 homosexual male individuals in the sample ~10.000 individuals did not show up as cohabitating. In other words Var_CH did not identify them as two men living together but SSMC did indicate that these men were married to another men.

I assume this is the case because these ~10.000 married men do not live together with their partner. Is this assumption correct?

Is there a question in the ACS that would document a same sex marriage even if the men don’t live together?

Furthermore if the answer to these questions above is two times yes (i.e. these 10.000 married men don’t live together with their partner & SSMC captures a homosexual marriage even if the partners don’t live together) my follow up questions concerns the ratio. The share of men that are married but don’t live together seems rather large (i.e. 10.000/45.000 ~ 20%).

If I understand the information provided on IPUMS correct this ratio is probably even more skewed. Because married homosexual couples that live together show up in the sample twice compared to their counterparts that don’t live together. In other words, if two married men live together they are both interviewed and will show up as two homosexual men living together. If a men indicates that he is in a same sex marriage and the partner is not living in the same place then the partner is not interviewed and not in the sample. Thus, married homosexual couples that live together are counted double compared to married homosexual couples that don’t live together. Thus, the ratio is not 10.000/45.000 but actually rather 20.000/55.000 (here the 10.000 men that are married and don’t live together are counted double because the married men that live together are counted double as well). This ratio of 40% seems very large.

So my question here is: Did I understand the information on IPUMS correctly? Is my logic above correct? Is the rate of homosexual married men that don’t live together actually this large (i.e.40%) ?

P.: I did not used any weights for the ratios above, and thus they are just a first approximation.

Best regards,

Maximilian Schiele

It seems as though there may be a bit of confusion regarding some of the spouse/relate/marriage variables.

By definition the SPLOC variable identifies a spouse’s location in the household; therefore, if your logic for creating Var_CH relies on SPLOC then in all cases, Var_CH should indicate the men as cohabitating.

The RELATED variable (the detailed variable for RELATE, which is automatically included in your extract when you add RELATE) could help you identify same sex couples that may not necessarily be a spouse by using the code for “Unmarried partner” (1114).

Unfortunately, there is not currently a way for you to identify same sex couples that are married but do not live together. With the use of MARST, SSMC, SPLOC, and RELATE, you can identify same sex married couples/same sex partners, however, there is no information collected on the sex of someone who is married but the spouse is absent from the household, we simply know if their marital status.

It should also be noted that SSMC is a household-level measure which indicates if the householder and spouse are a same sex married couple. When working with a rectangularized extract (the default), this will put the SSMC indicator on every individual in the household, but it really only represents the relationship of the householder and their spouse.

I hope this helps.

Thank you so much for your reponse!

I’m still a bit confused to be honest. To make it concrete, how would i correctly identify homosexual couples?

a) that are married

b) that are not-married