Newly released census data indicates that Utah’s numbers of openly gay and lesbian couples—and unmarried straight couples—is on the rise.
According to the report, released in late September, the Beehive State has gone from 1,798 lesbian couples living together to 2,217 and 1,919 gay couples to 2,332—increases of 23 and 21.5 percent, respectively.
The number of unmarried straight partners has also risen significantly, from 23,182 to 33,061 in the past seven years, a 42 percent increase.
University of Utah demographer Pam Perlich attributed the increase in unmarried couples (both straight and gay) to Utah’s increasing diversity and to a greater willingness on the part of such couples to identify themselves.
“Part of that is a more diverse population, but part is also self-identification. It's how they see themselves,” she told the Salt Lake Tribune.
Despite these increases, Utah still leads the nation in number of households headed by married couples and average household size. It also has the youngest median marriage age: 22.8 for women and 25.2 for men. In 2000, the average age for men was 23.9 and 21.9 for women.