University of Colorado at Boulder

Colloquia Event

Friday October 11, 2013. 03:30 pm. GUGG 205

Gayborhoods: The Demographics and Economics of Same-Sex Couple Concentrations within Large U.S. Cities

Matthew Ruther

University of Colorado, Department of Geography, Post-Doctoral Researcher

Research on the neighborhood-level spatial distributions of gay men and lesbians is limited, and there are several common presumptions regarding the local residential patterning of same-sex couples. This paper uses Census tract data from the 2000 U.S. Census and the 2005-2009 American Community Survey to examine the locations of same-sex partnerships in 38 large U.S. cities, and to assess the validity of these presumptions. Results indicate that although both gay male and lesbian couples exhibit high levels of residential segregation, the spatial distributions of the two groups within cities are quite distinct. There is little evidence to support the frequent assertion that same-sex couples concentrate in more racially and ethnically diverse neighborhoods, and evidence to support the popular notion that large concentrations of gays and lesbians leads to more rapid development of central city neighborhoods is mixed. Census tracts that start the decade with more gay male couples experience significantly greater growth in household incomes and, for Northeastern and Western cities, greater population growth over the next decade than those tracts with fewer gay male couples. Census tracts with more lesbian couples at the start of the decade see no difference in population or income growth.

Geography colloquium series was made possible by the generous support from The Beirne Carter Foundation.