Get access

Comparing the Earnings of Cohabiting Lesbians, Cohabiting Heterosexual Women, and Married Women: Evidence from the 2000 Census


* Lisa K. Jepsen is an associate professor at the Department of Economics, University of Northern Iowa, Iowa; E-mail: The author wishes to thank David Hakes, Joni Hersch, Christopher Jepsen, Bryce Kanago, Lori Kletzer, Robert Margo, Ken McCormick, David Neumark, Janet Rives, Kim Sosin, the editor, and two anonymous referees for their helpful comments.


Using data from the 2000 Census, I tested the hypothesis that cohabiting lesbians have statistically different earnings from cohabiting and married heterosexual women. Cohabiting lesbians earn more than their heterosexual counterparts, even when differences in child-rearing status are considered. Furthermore, the results do not support differences in household specialization as an explanation for the lesbian earnings premium.