Gay Marriage Could Boost Wedding Industry by $2.5 Billion

June 26, 2015 Studies
Gay Marriage Could Boost Wedding Industry by $2.5B

In a landmark decision Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right in all 50 states. The 5-4 decision was celebrated by many nationwide, including President Barack Obama, who tweeted that it was a “big step in our march toward equality.”

The newly expanded marriage rights provide a tremendous economic opportunity for the $51 billion wedding industry, which currently employs over 800,000 people nationwide. Excluding increases in federal tax revenue or transfer payments, gay marriage in all 50 states has the potential to add $2.5 billion annually to the U.S. economy, according to a NerdWallet analysis.

By calculating consumer spending on weddings, average marriage rates, as well as the self-identified gay and lesbian population, NerdWallet determined the potential revenue from gay marriage in each state. For example, our study found that California’s economy stands to gain as much as $414 million.

Scroll over a state in the map below to see the total projected revenue. Click here for the full data.

 

 

How our analysis is different

Many states where same-sex marriage was first legalized have seen an economic boost as couples planned their unions. But this increase doesn’t predict future spending because marriage rates for the first couple of years after legalization are inflated due to pent-up demand.

Additionally, many of the initial marriages were planned quickly and performed at a courthouse. When same-sex marriage has been legal for several years, our assumption is couples will have more time to plan their weddings, and thus spend more money on their big day.

Our analysis looks at the long-term demand and the average cost of a same-sex wedding in each state.

Same-sex marriage and federal spending

Our analysis doesn’t factor in tax implications or the changes in federal spending with the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage.

See this story for details about what the court’s decision means for your finances.

Recognition of same-sex marriages across the country will boost federal revenue through income and estate taxes. For example, legalization will slightly increase federal tax revenue, estimated to be about 0.1% of total federal revenue, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

More on our methodology

We multiplied the population of each state by the percentage that identifies as LGBT, and then multiplied that by the state’s marriage rate and the average cost of a wedding.

LGBT population by state: We assessed the LGBT population by state through Gallup’s poll of residents who self-identify as LGBT — but this identification is likely an underestimate.

Marriage rate by state: We obtained state marriage rates from the U.S. Census Bureau. The data figures the number of marriages for 1,000 women, which is the number of marriages per 2,000 residents. We used this to calculate marriage rate as a percentage.

Cost of a wedding by state: We obtained data from The Wedding Report on average wedding costs by county. We looked at the 765 largest counties in the U.S. by population and weighted county wedding cost estimates by population to determine the estimated average cost of a wedding by state. For states that have boroughs or parishes instead of counties — Alaska and Louisiana — we used cost estimates from the largest borough in the state.

We assumed that the rate of same-sex marriage is the same as the rate for all couples in every state.

Economic impact of gay marriage

Scroll right to see all categories.

StatePercentage of population that identifies as LGBTMarriage rate by statePopulationEstimated gay marriages in stateAverage cost of weddingTotal added
to state economy
Alabama2.8%0.8%4,833,7221,137$22,446$25,518,251
Alaska3.4%1.0%735,132242$37,021$8,975,613
Arizona3.9%0.8%6,626,6242,119$25,332$53,682,762
Arkansas3.5%1.0%2,959,3731,082$22,364$24,206,963
California4.0%0.8%38,332,52112,420$33,362$414,343,588
Colorado3.2%1.1%5,268,3671,854$27,504$51,004,525
Connecticut3.4%0.7%3,596,080886$35,108$31,120,903
Delaware3.4%0.9%925,749269$27,700$7,454,500
Florida3.5%0.7%19,552,8604,859$24,254$117,848,604
Georgia3.5%0.9%9,992,1673,008$26,007$78,221,168
Hawaii5.1%1.0%1,404,054723$36,802$26,615,971
Idaho2.7%1.0%1,612,136424$22,947$9,738,665
Illinois3.8%0.7%12,882,1353,647$27,834$101,507,822
Indiana3.7%0.9%6,570,9022,225$23,834$53,020,197
Iowa2.8%0.8%3,090,416723$23,618$17,065,139
Kansas3.7%1.0%2,893,9571,071$25,050$26,822,402
Kentucky3.9%0.9%4,395,2951,620$22,614$36,631,353
Louisiana3.2%0.7%4,625,4701,081$23,776$25,690,201
Maine4.8%0.9%1,328,302545$25,419$13,857,054
Maryland3.3%0.8%5,928,8141,507$34,995$52,720,973
Massachusetts4.4%0.7%6,692,8242,076$32,910$68,325,643
Michigan3.8%0.7%9,895,6222,707$24,688$66,841,724
Minnesota2.9%0.9%5,420,3801,368$28,265$38,654,438
Mississippi2.6%0.9%2,991,207704$22,053$15,521,435
Missouri3.3%0.9%6,044,1711,735$22,343$38,770,609
Montana2.6%0.9%1,015,165240$22,492$5,402,357
Nebraska2.7%0.9%1,868,516462$24,486$11,303,318
Nevada4.2%0.9%2,790,1361,096$26,863$29,433,590
New Hampshire3.7%0.8%1,323,459370$32,611$12,056,458
New Jersey3.7%0.7%8,899,3392,190$36,745$80,459,374
New Mexico2.9%0.9%2,085,287541$23,017$12,457,797
New York3.8%0.7%19,651,1275,041$32,421$163,416,946
North Carolina3.3%0.9%9,848,0602,762$24,189$66,818,175
North Dakota1.7%1.2%723,393149$22,709$3,379,159
Ohio3.6%0.8%11,570,8083,207$23,883$76,602,435
Oklahoma3.4%1.1%3,850,5681,420$23,112$32,829,754
Oregon4.9%0.8%3,930,0651,550$27,064$41,955,325
Pennsylvania2.7%0.7%12,773,8012,500$27,614$69,047,046
Rhode Island4.5%0.7%1,051,511319$28,809$9,201,548
South Carolina2.9%0.8%4,774,8391,115$22,869$25,491,992
South Dakota4.4%1.2%844,877431$22,790$9,827,515
Tennessee2.6%0.9%6,495,9781,495$23,202$34,680,751
Texas3.3%1.0%26,448,1938,379$25,972$217,610,296
Utah2.7%1.3%2,900,872991$25,950$25,711,188
Vermont4.9%0.8%626,630247$30,585$7,559,823
Virginia2.9%0.9%8,260,4052,072$34,990$72,503,281
Washington4.0%1.0%6,971,4062,747$30,076$82,610,754
West Virginia3.1%0.8%1,854,304445$20,960$9,337,566
Wisconsin2.8%0.7%5,742,7131,182$25,313$29,915,850
Wyoming2.9%1.0%582,658164$24,309$3,984,315
Total economic impact$2,537,757,118

 Image via iStock. 

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