Australia’s Census figures released this week are giving us a lot of detail about how and where same-sex couples live – and what they believe.
The 2011 Census shows 33,714 same-sex couples around Australia – 1,338 said they were ‘married’ while 32,377 same-sex couples (nearly 65,000 Australians) were in de facto relationships.
This is a 32% increase in the number of same-sex couples than seen in the last census in 2006 – continuing a large trend upwards since 1996, when same-sex couples were first counted:
“The increases may in part reflect greater willingness by people to identify themselves as same-sex couples in the Census,” notes the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Same-sex couples now account for 0.7% of all couples counted in Australia.
A data also shows the geographical spread of same-sex couples. In the larger capital cities, inner city areas had notably higher proportions of same-sex couples than other parts of the city.
Just over one in ten same-sex couples had children living with them in their family. 12% of the couples counted noted that they had children, and it’s much more common for female than male same-sex couples to have children living in the family – 22% compared with 3%. In total, there’s 6,120 children under 25 years in same-sex couple families.
The Census asks about religion, so we can now extrapolate information about how same-sex couples differ from others on their beliefs. “Same-sex couple partners were most likely to report having no religion (48%), followed by Christianity (40%),” says the Bureau. “This contrasted with opposite sex couples, for whom Christianity was the leading affiliation (67%) followed by having no religion (21%).”
“Compared with partners in opposite-sex couples, same-sex partners were more likely to be affiliated with Buddhism (4.0% compared with 2.6%) and less likely to be affiliated with Hinduism (0.3% compared with 1.6%) or Islam (0.6% compared with 2.1%).”
Naturally, all these new facts make us reflect on how we are treated in our society and in our laws.
“With same-sex couples increasingly integrated into Australian society, our exclusion from marriage looks more and more outdated,” says Alex Greenwich of Australian Marriage Equality.
“The increase in children being raised by same-sex parents is a reminder of the need for marriage equality because these children are currently deprived of the security and stability having married parents can bring,” he asserts.
“With same-sex couples increasingly integrated into Australian society, our exclusion from marriage looks more and more outdated.”
Photo: Markham, Quaetapo, Felix, Pierre, Todd, Julia, Mathieu and Kamini.