Changes in the Well-Being of Same-Sex Couples Following the Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage in England and Wales

Diederik Boertien, Centre d'Estudis Demográfics
Daniele Vignoli, University of Florence

In this paper, we address the question to what extent the subjective well-being of same-sex couples changed following the legalization of same-sex marriage in England and Wales in March 2014. We employ data from the Annual Population Survey to examine changes in several aspects of well-being during the period before and after legalization. The total period covered by the analysis spans from April 2011 to September 2016 and provides information on ~530,000 individuals including ~4600 individuals living in a same-sex couple. The analysis reveals substantial increases in well-being among same-sex couples following legalization. In particular, reported levels of happiness increased and levels of anxiety decreased in the 12 months following legalization, compared to the 12 months before legalization. Additional analysis hints at a ‘marital well-being premium’ among same-sex couples, suggesting that the legalization could have influenced the well-being of same-sex couples who married in particular.

Presented in Session 46: Partnership Diversity and Partnership Well-Being