There are far fewer same-sex couples in South Carolina and across the nation than 2010 census data had indicated, the U.S. Census Bureau said this afternoon.

Revised census estimates released this afternoon say that in 2010, there were 1,596 same-sex married couples in South Carolina, not 5,300 as was reported earlier this year. Statewide there were 7,214 same-sex couples living together regardless of marital status, not 11,532 as had been reported.

The higher numbers of same-sex couples previously reported were due to errors in gender reporting, particularly when forms were filled out by Census Bureau workers. For example, if a form said that Thomas and his spouse Martha were both female, they would have been erroneously counted as a same-sex married couple.

Martin O’Connell, chief of the Fertility and Family Statistics Branch, Social, Economic and Housing Statistics Division, at the Census Bureau, said the error rate was small, but had a large impact on the census numbers because of the small portion of the population was involved.

Nationwide, the Census Bureau now says there were 646,464 same-sex couple households in 2010, not 901,997.

Read more in Wednesday’s editions of The Post and Courier.