More same-sex couples per-capita live in Buncombe County than anywhere else in North Carolina, according to a study of U.S. Census data done by the Williams Institute and recently reported in the Asheville Citizen-Times.
Buncombe County has 15.5 same-sex couples for every 1,000 residents — the highest rate of any other county in the state. Durham County ranked second with 12.7 per 1,000 residents. In Asheville, the rates appear to be even higher: 19.7 same-sex couples per 1,000 compared to the city of Durham’s 13.2.
Other Western North Carolina counties rank high for same-sex male and same-sex female couples: From Avery County to Macon County, the 12-county region has some of the highest rates of same-sex male couples in the state —3 per 1,000 residents. And the five-county area from Madison to Transylvania has some of the highest rates of same-sex female couples — more than 5 per 1,000.
According to the Citizen-Times summary, the number of same-sex couples in Buncombe County has increased by 110 percent in the last 10 years. The Williams study also found that up to 25 percent of same-couples in WNC are raising children.
But in a survey the group did of same-sex couples last year, researchers found that around one in seven same-sex couples were not counted by the Census: Some couples were not identifying themselves as partners, and some same-sex couples live in homes where neither was the householder.
The Institute is a research center for sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy based at the UCLA School of Law. The group takes Census data and adjusts it for what it says are potential undercounts. For more information on the Williams Institute study, click here.