We're Down With the Count!

posted by Mark Wainwright -


With apologies to Charles Osgood, do you remember this?


There's nothing I won't do for you

If you will be my POSSLQ

I'll be your friend, and so much more

That's what a POSSLQ is for!


Some years ago, the Census Bureau introduced a category for "Person of the Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters." Thus, "POSSLQ."

I don't think they use that designation anymore, but they've introduced a new one for the 2020 count:

According to our colleagues at NBC News, for the first time in history, 2020 Census respondents will be able to indicate whether they are part of a same-sex couple. The choices are:

  • "opposite-sex husband/wife/spouse"
  • "same-sex husband/wife/spouse"
  • "opposite-sex unmarried partner"
  • "same-sex unmarried partner"

Okay, that should just about cover it... unless we start tabulating those polygamous or polyamorous households we've been hearing about. I don't think the Census Bureau wants to go there yet.

Meanwhile, not only have the questions changed over the years, the census procedures themselves have become more sophisticated... but I confess I miss this sort of personal interaction:

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Mark Wainwright

Mark Wainwright

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