Using independent data from the Centers for Disease Control, the author tests a key assumption of previous research on gay and lesbian incomes: that same-sex unmarried partner households are, indeed, gay or lesbian. The author shows that this independent data suffers from less severe underreporting of same-sex unmarried partner households than the 1990 Decennial Census. Furthermore, individual level information on sexual behavior and family planning is used to show that these households exhibit sexual behavior that is systematically different from married and different-sex couples and that is consistent with a large body of public health and HIV literature on gay men and lesbians. Finally, the author replicates, confirms, and extends previously published Census-based results on the household income penalty faced by gay male couples, showing that these results are not an artifact of deficient data. He finds similar results for lesbian couples. (JEL "J1", "J3") Copyright 2004 Western Economic Association International.
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