Less religious, more highly educated, better-earning, more equal: new Census data has taken the best snapshot of LGBTI Australia yet, revealing that same-sex couples are doing much better on average than the rest of the nation.
The data, taken from the 2011 Census and released today, includes detailed information from every household that self-identified as containing a couple in a same-sex relationship. While it doesn’t include data taken from single LGBTI Australians, the information gives fascinating insights into the face of Australia’s queer population, including the most LGBTI-friendly suburbs and occupations and how same-sex couples stack up against their straight counterparts.
Around 33,700 same-sex couples registered in the 2011 Census, representing one percent of all Australian relationships. That number has almost tripled since 1996 when the option was first introduced, which could indicate a growing acceptance of homosexuality as more couples become willing to have their relationship put on the public record. 6,300 children are living in same-sex families, with female partners far more likely to have children than male couples.
The figures also confirmed that Sydney is still overwhelmingly the gay capital of Australia, containing the top ten suburbs for both male and female same-sex relationships. Darlinghurst is still the gayest place in Australia, with 17.9 percent of all couples in the inner Sydney suburb being male same-sex couples and other central suburbs like Potts Point, Elizabeth Bay and Surry Hills not far behind. Lesbian couples were more likely to live in the Inner West with St Peters, Newtown, Erskineville and Enmore coming up as the suburbs with the highest proportion of same-sex lesbian houses, although women were far more spread out geographically than men.
Almost half of all same-sex couples identified as being of no religion compared with just 21 percent of opposite-sex households. LGBT couples were almost twice as likely to have a Bachelor degree and earned higher weekly wages across almost all age groups. Interestingly, women in same-sex couples were far more likely to be better off than other women, with 11 percent earning more than $2000 a week compared to just 4 percent.
Men in same-sex relationships were most likely to be retail managers, sales assistants, nurses, hairdressers or work in advertising and public relations, while their opposite-sex counterparts were more likely to be truck drivers, electricians and carpenters. Same-sex women were most likely employed as nurses, retail workers, teachers, police and welfare workers.
Same-sex couples were also far more likely to be relatively equal, both in money earned and in division of housework. Twice as many same-sex couples had two people earning over $1000 a week, and more than half of both male-male and female-female couples did about the same amount of unpaid domestic work.