Census shows number of marriages drops in DuluthDespite Duluth’s population staying about the same since 2000, the number of married couples in the city dropped 10 percent, data released by the U.S. Census shows.
DULUTH — Despite Duluth’s population staying about the same since 2000, the number of married couples in the city dropped 10 percent, data released by the U.S. Census shows.
But the number of unmarried and same-sex households in Duluth substantially increased during the same time, the numbers show.
The reasons for the drop in married couples are probably economic, said Dan D’Allaird, a clinical psychologist with the Duluth Psychological Clinic.
“The decisions about why people do or don’t get married are multifaceted,” D’Allaird said. “They’re making decisions on practical grounds, tax arrangements — can we make it financially work?”
In a region like Duluth with a high poverty rate and low incomes, marriage might be something that’s financially out of reach for some people, said Jim Skurla, director of University of Minnesota Duluth’s bureau of business and economic research.
“Or it’s something financially advantageous to not get married,” he said. “For some, it can increase their cash flow.”
As for the increase in same-sex couples, the actual number in Duluth is low — 223 — accounting for barely 1 percent of couples in the city. But it’s much higher than the 131 same-sex couples who reported 10 years before.
To Jeff Anderson, a Duluth At Large city councilor and candidate for Congress who is also openly gay, the increase is a positive sign and shows that the city has become more welcoming. That, in turn, will help Duluth’s economy, he said.
“We’re developing a more quality work force,” he said. “And to do that, you have to make the city more welcome and attractive to all kinds of people.”
Anderson cited the increased popularity and support of the Duluth-Superior Pride Festival, as well as a city registry of domestic partnerships, as ways in which Duluth shows itself to be more welcoming.
But he said the city still has more work to do.
“There are still local stigmas that need to be overcome,” he said. “I think we still have folks who might not understand the work people are doing on marriage equality and equal rights.”