Surveying Persons in Same-Sex Relationships in a Probabilistic Way – An Example from the Netherlands

Stephanie Steinmetz 1  and Mirjam Fischer 2
  • 1 University of Lausanne, Institute for Social Sciences, 1015, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 2 German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), Survey Methodology and Survey Management (SOEP Survey), , 10117, Berlin, Germany


In the last decade, the call for improved estimates of lesbians, gay men and bisexual (LGB) populations has grown steadily. This is related to the increasing visibility of same-sex unions and the rapidly evolving changes in the legal and normative institutional frameworks regarding same-sex relationships in Western countries. The aim of this article is to present the sampling strategy and discuss the quality of a recently conducted probability-based survey in the Netherlands that targeted mixed-sex and same-sex couples with and without children. The core questions addressed are (1) whether the sampling strategy paid off in terms of identifying same-sex households and (2) whether the collected sample is representative of the target population. While the sampling strategy has success in identifying same-sex households, the question of representativeness remains a challenging task in surveying LGB populations and couples in particular. Especially, aspects related to the sampling strategy, the survey mode and the covered topic of the research are central to understanding observed selection patterns in the examined mixed- and same-sex samples.

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