The big news of the week is that someone finally finished crunching the numbers on 2010 census data and mapped where all the same-sex couples in the United States live.
By the census's count, Oregon is the fifth gayest state in America, based on our per capita number of same sex couples. This is the picture the Huffington Post uses to represent "gay Portland":
But here's what Oregon's gays look like from another angle:
The US has been long overdue for a tabulation of same-sex couples. Until the 2010 Census, the federal government treated same-sex partners as a clerical error on Census forms and systematically changed the gender of one of the partners in its records. However, the current count of over 900,000 same-sex couples in the United States is still likely way off from reality: The Williams Institute estimates that 15 percent of same-sex couples nationwide were too nervous for some reason to put down that they were actually in a same-sex partnership. And up to 25 percent of the current counted couples could have a been an error due to someone filling out the wrong gender. Damn it, the clerical errors continue to plague us!
Even with the miscounts, though, the data is interesting. What I find heartening is that it shows queer couples living all over the place. While San Fransisco, as expected, tops the list, Monroe County, Florida has the third-highest per capita rate of gay couples (right above Multnomah County). And eighth on the list are DeKalb County, Georgia; St. Louis, Missouri; and Buncombe, North Carolina. I find the numbers heartening—it's only a matter of time before the neighbors of gay couples living together and raising kids in Florida, Georgia, Missouri, and North Carolina come around to seeing that gayness is not a threat to society. In fact, happy same-sex couples are in every state in the union.