A review of US Census Bureau data has compared the makeup of same-sex couples to that of their heterosexual counterparts.

The review of the 2008 American Community Survey (ACS), undertaken by Gary Gates from the University of California Los Angeles, assessed nearly 565,000 same-sex couples, of which nearly 150,000 were legally married or considered themselves “spouses.”

It found that same-sex spouses and straight married couples share many characteristics including similar ages, education levels, income and home ownership.

Surprisingly, same-sex spouses do not differ as dramatically as some may have expected when it comes to child-rearing: 31% of same-sex spouses are raising children compared to 43% of different-sex spouses.

Gates told the Associated Press that “It’s intrinsically interesting that same-sex couples who use the term spouses look like opposite-sex married couples even with a characteristic like children.

“Most proponents of traditional marriage will say that when you allow these couples to marry, you are going to change the fundamental nature of marriage by decoupling it from procreation. Clearly, in the minds of same-sex couples who are marrying or think of themselves as married, you are not decoupling child-rearing from marriage,” he said.

There are more dramatic differences, however, when it comes to members of same-sex couples who do not see themselves as spouses when compared to straight unmarried couples.

The review found that members of these same-sex couples were generally older, wealthier (by 72%), more likely to own a home and more likely to be employed compared to straight unmarried couples.

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