Filling Out Our 2010 Census Form as a Gay, Multiracial Couple

I’ve been looking for recommendations for how to fill out the census form with regard to our relationship status.

Basically, if you in any way consider your same-sex partner to be your spouse, mark down Person 2 as your “husband or wife.” If you do not think of your partner as your spouse, mark down Person 2 as an “unmarried partner.”

2010 Census Form

For the large numbers of lesbian and gay couples who are not legally married in any way, I realize that this is completely subjective and that some say the more “correct” thing to do is mark yourself as unmarried partners. Outfront Minnesota specifically recommended the former choice. So did The Williams Institute. (pdf)

Both categories – spouses and unmarried partners – provide valuable information. Indicating that you consider yourself to be married will help advocates quantify how many people would get married if they could, and thus how many people are currently disenfranchised by a lack of marriage equality. Indicating that you consider yourself to be unmarried partners helps advocates quantify how many lesbians and gays there actually are in the country, since there is no other way to indicate that on the census form. More info on that at Our Families Count.

The FAQ at has further information on gender identity issues and also includes this piece of information:

A note for bi-racial couples: It is not widely known that the race of the household member who fills out the Census form determines the racial designation of a family in one of the Census’ major statistical tables. Given that people of color are often undercounted by the Census, couples or families may want to consider having a person of color identify as household member #1 when filling out the form for a family.

I had no idea! Good thing we had already decided I was to be Person 1.

2010 Census Form

Filling out the short form was really anti-climactic, but it was still fun to do. I felt like I made a statement. Count me, dammit!

2010 Census Form