The Expansion Of Same-Sex Marriage

Nate Silver takes a look at the number of people who live in areas where same-sex marriage is legal has grown:

By Aug. 1, same-sex marriage will be legal in California, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Washington — all states where it was not legal one year earlier.

There are about 59 million people living in these seven states, which means that the availability of same-sex marriage in the United States as a percentage of population will have more than doubled within the year. As of early last year, same-sex marriage was legal only in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia, which have 35 million people among them.


With the coming resumption of same-sex marriage in California, where it was legal for a brief period in 2008 before voters passed Proposition 8, the United States will surpass Europe in the availability of same-sex marriage as measured by share of the population. By August, about 95 million Americans out of a population of 314 million — about 30 percent — will live in states where same-sex marriage is legal. In Europe, that number is 169 million residents out of a population of 736 million, or about 23 percent.

Here’s a chart showing how much that population has grown, especially in the last year:



There’s also a worldwide expansion going on:

By August, there will be about 585 million people living in countries or jurisdictions where same-sex marriage is legal. That is roughly double the 289 million people living in such places in August 2012. (These calculations are based on the most recent population estimates and do not account for population growth.)

Still, that represents only about 8 percent of the global population. No country in Asia, which has well more than half the world’s people, has authorized same-sex marriage.

Instead, it’s the New World that has taken the lead. Of the 585 million people living in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage will be legal by August, about 360 million are in the Americas.

Here’s chart showing worldwide growth:

Worldwide SSM


That’s less than 10% of the world’s population, but still not bad.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.