The two Georgia counties with the most same-sex households won't surprise LGBT residents: Fulton County ranks first in terms of total couples, while DeKalb is first based on the highest concentration of couples. But three counties in the North Georgia mountains also rank high for the number of gay households per 1,000.

North Ga. mountains home to high concentration of gay couples

Almost 30,000 same-sex couples live together in Georgia, according to data released Thursday from the 2010 Census, and more than 28 percent are raising children. The total numbers show a sharp increase from the 19,288 same-sex unmarried partners reported in the state in the 2000 Census.

The federal government conducts a full Census every 10 years. The 2010 Census did not ask respondents to indicate their sexual orientation, so it can’t be used to count single gay people.

But the Census did allow respondents to indicate if they live with a “unmarried partner” or “spouse” and then indicate the sex of that person. Those answers are used to tabulate the number of same-sex couple households.

The Williams Institute, a think tank at the UCLA School of Law, conducts extensive analysis of “unmarried partner” Census numbers. Tonight, the institute released its analysis of the Georgia numbers, which it adjusted to take into account possible undercounting and errors on Census forms.

Not surprisingly, the Williams Institute found that Atlanta’s Fulton County had the highest total of same-sex couples at 5,554. DeKalb County, also part of the heart of the Atlanta metro area, ranked second at 5,006 couples. The two traded places for first and second when tallied based on the concentration of gay couples: DeKalb cited 18.42 same-sex couples per 1,000 households, while Fulton cited 14.76 per 1,000.

Apparently, lesbian and gay couples are also finding a haven in the North Georgia mountains. The next three counties with the highest concentration of gay couples per 1,000 households are all in the region: Fannin (10.32 per 1,000), Gilmer (10.24 per 1,000) and Rabun (10.21 per 1,000).

The five cities that the Williams Institute found to have the highest concentration of gay couples are all eastern suburbs of Atlanta: Avondale Estates (49.30 per 1,000 households), Decatur (39.37 per 1,000), North Druid Hills (36.87 per 1,000), Scottdale (32.36 per 1,000) and North Decatur (30 per 1,000).