ABS looks at modern same-sex couples

Date: Jul 25, 2013

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released its latest Australian Social Trends report.

In particular, this report looks into the characteristics of modern same-sex couples in Australia.

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The report begins with the statement that there has been an "increasing interest in same-sex couples within Australian society in recent years".

This increasing interest has been matched by a growth in the number of same-sex couples that are living together across the country.

According to the latest Census, 33,700 people are currently living together in same-sex relationships.

Jane Griffin-Warwicke, ABS assistant director of social and progress reporting, revealed that 17,600 of these were male couples and 16,100 were female couples.

The majority of legal distinctions between same-sex and opposite-sex couples have now been done away with, says the ABS report.

They are no longer considered 'different' when it comes to things like taxation, superannuation, social security, inheritance or veteran support.

Ms Griffin-Warwicke added that there are almost twice as many children living in same-sex couple families now as there were in 2006. She said that most of these children live in female same-sex couple households.

As well as looking into the 'hard facts' about same-sex couples in Australia, the ABS report also shed some light on a number of other day-to-day characteristics.

For example, Ms Griffin-Warwicke reveals, same-sex couples tend to share housework more evenly between them. In opposite-sex couples, women will often spend more time doing chores than their male counterparts.

People in same-sex couples are also, on the whole, more highly educated than those in opposite-sex relationships. Those in the former group also tend to have a higher employment rate, larger incomes and move around more frequently.

New South Wales in general and Sydney in particular is home to the most same-sex couples in Australia. In 2011, the top ten suburbs for same-sex couples (both male and female) were all located in inner Sydney.

Finally, the Australian Social Trends report shows that, while those in same-sex relationships are on average a lot younger than those in opposite-sex ones, there also seems to be a more significant age gap between partners in the former group.