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The effect of the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision, in 2 charts

Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

It’s been a year since the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal nationwide in Obergefell v. Hodges. And that year has heard a lot of wedding bells.

Gallup estimates that the share of LGBTQ Americans in a same-sex marriage has increased from 7.9 percent before the Supreme Court’s decision to 9.6 percent today. (That’s a 22 percent increase, or 1.7 percentage points.)

But to see the real difference the Supreme Court made, Gallup breaks out couples who are living together in states where same-sex marriage was and wasn’t legal before the Obergefell decision. Perhaps not surprisingly, the difference was most dramatic in the 13 states where same-sex marriage hadn’t previously been legal:

In states that didn’t allow same-sex marriage, the share of cohabiting couples who were married increased dramatically, suggesting that many of those partnerships turned into marriages as soon as it was legal.

At the same time, nationally, the share of unmarried couples living together dropped, suggesting that there were plenty of breakups in the past year, too:

Gallup suggests that one reason marriage rates are still fairly low is that many people who identify as LGBTQ in the US are young. People under 29 were three times more likely to tell a pollster they were LGBTQ in a 2012 study than those over 65. The data suggest that, while the Supreme Court decision had an immediate impact, the real trends aren’t likely to show up until later, when young adults — who are marrying later in general — start to wed.