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.
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 increase is likely due to a combination of better outreach and more lesbian and gay Georgians feeling safe to come out on the confidential form, according to Jeff Graham, executive director of statewide gay political group Georgia Equality.
"The Census Bureau and community organizations did a much better job in 2010 of conducting outreach to the LGBT community than in 2000, therefore more people knew how to respond and the importance of responding," noted Graham, whose organization joined in outreach efforts as the Census was underway last year.
In addition, "as acceptance of our families has grown, more people are willing to stand up and be counted," Graham said. "As more data is collected on the LGBT community in general, the more accurate and comprehensive that data will be."
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.