CHARLOTTE, N.C. — New figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau and its annual American Community Survey made a simple change to how the classify data. The agency now counts married same-sex couples as families.

The annual survey and once-a-decade census had counted same-sex partners, married or not, since 1990. This is the first time married partners have been recognized, following last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act.

On the new figures, our news partners at The Charlotte Observer report:

That picture includes nearly 56 million married-couple households in the nation last year, according to the new estimates. Same-sex couples accounted for a sliver of that total, some 251,695 homes.

In North Carolina, there were an estimated 19,327 households with same-sex couples, including 6,469 homes, or nearly 34 percent, with married couples. In 2012, an estimated 27 percent of same-sex couples were married, the data showed.

South Carolina had 8,347 same-sex couple households, including 2,583 homes, or 31 percent, with married couples. The previous year, about 28 percent of same-sex couples were married.

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Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.