Thursday, December 16, 2010

Being Counted

A friend posted a link on Facebook to the very handy New York Times "Mapping America" tool and made the observation that Boston-Edison is the gayest neighborhood in Detroit (at 7%), followed by Indian Village (5%)  and Woodbridge (5%).  Not necessarily a shock, but interesting nevertheless.  If only because it prompts a little digging on the map to see where else rates.

It was no surprise to see that East English Village has a higher-than-zero number of "same-sex households" (3%) but seriously, who expected the area around the Detroit Medical Center (3%) to show up higher than Lafayette Park? I mean really, there are like six places to live there!  And the neighborhoods just next to City Airport (4%!)? Random!  Or Highland Park (3%).  For real?

The map is full of surprises like that in the city, little pockets where same-sex couples are just going about their business and not making a big stink about gayborhoods (but probably leading their block clubs).

Just as notable are the areas that don't appear to have a significant gay population, like the Palmer Woods/Sherwood Forest/Green Acres area (0%?  Really?).  Or in Oakland County - Ferndale is only 1-2%!  The winner in the OC is Royal Oak at a whopping 4%.

Remember, of course, that this only tracks households identifying as same-sex, which means couples.  So if there weren't enough reasons for society to make you feel shitty about being single, there's one more.  And the data is based on sampling - the real updated story from the 2010 census will be revealed in February 2011.  I am trying my darnedest to figure out how to find the sampled population of each census tract so I can do a little math with these percentages, but for the son of two Ph.D.'s in statistics I'm not managing to find the right data very well.

And to wrap things up - if you are looking for the ultimate in gay living in Michigan, apparently you need to move to Ecorse, which rates 14%!  If downriver is not your speed, there's always Pinckney (7%).  Really.


AmyinMotown said...

I would be interested to know how they judged "same sex households" in the couple sense versus friends or family members of the same sex who live together. Because I worked Downriver for a long time and there was not so much a gay vibe in Ecorse...and I'd be really surprised if there were not at least some gay couples here in the Palmer Woods/U District/Green Acres area.

Supergay Detroit said...

On the census form you can actually mark that you are a same-sex couple in the marital status section. Or something like that, it's never applied to me.

Palmer Woods/etc is full of upwardly-mobile homosexualists. Well, full is a strong word, but with such a low population density it only takes a smattering of same-sex households to bump that % right up there.

As for Ecorse, we all tend to forget the working class gays & lesbians when we think "gay household," but obviously from this map there are a lot of them out there. If you read Between the Lines at all there's always some lesbian couple getting harassed downriver.

Andy said...

From what I saw looking at the raw data, the margins of error on the 2005-2009 data are huge. Those margins get bigger the higher the percentage of black or other minorities, since the ACS has more trouble getting accurate counts for them; and those margins of error get proportionally bigger the smaller the population of the community or tract.

Ecorse is a case in point: estimate of 87 households w/ 2 male partners, but the margin of error is 121! I'm not a statistician either, but with a range like that I really don't think most of those numbers are at all reliable.

Supergay Detroit said...

Oh thank God, because I really didn't want to move to Boston-Edison.

Not that there's anything wrong with Boston-Edison.

Miss Cindy Elmwood said...

Interesting. Ferndale at only 1-2%?? I suppose they might have more singles there than couples which might explain the low number. Still, I think we need to wait for the real 2010 census data. Palmer Woods at 0% really makes no sense, I know of at least a few.

Anonymous said...

Wow did you see Ecorse? Can it really be 14%.

Erin said...

Saugatuck has also been a popular town for gays and lesbians.

Interesting that they're willing to acknowledge same sex couples in census data but not in things like, say, filing taxes, co-parent adoption, or EBT.

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