Almost half of gay Americans now live in states where they can marry

As same-sex marriage bans continue to be eliminated by courts -- first Indiana and then, shortly after, Utah overturned bans today -- we thought we'd revisit our analysis from earlier this year about how it affects gay Americans.

In short: Nearly half of the 11-plus million gay Americans (how we arrived at that figure is explained in more depth below) now live in states that allow gay marriage, and are more likely to live in such states than Americans on the whole. 48.8 percent of gay Americans live in states where they can legally marry, according to our estimates. The percentage of Americans in those states overall is at 45.6 percent. And, of course, a large portion of the country live in states where the legal status is in limbo.


You can compare the states that allow gay marriage with the estimated gay population in each state on the two maps below. (That estimate is a combination of 2013 population data from the Census and the Williams Institute at UCLA's estimate of the gay population per state.)

Current laws on gay marriage

Estimated gay population of each state

The darker the blue color on this map, the more gay people who are estimated to live in the state.

It shouldn't be a surprise that the gay population of states that allow gay marriage tends to be higher: they're generally more urban and more liberal in their politics. As more states -- and more conservative states, like Indiana and Utah -- see prohibitions eliminated, that gap will close.

Philip Bump writes about politics for The Fix. He previously wrote for The Wire, the news blog of The Atlantic magazine. He has contributed to The Daily Beast, The Atlantic, The Daily, and the Huffington Post. Philip is based in New York City.
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