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  • Children of Same-Sex Unions: New Research on Family Stability and Structure

    Primary schoolchildren in married heterosexual households are 35 percent more likely to make typical school progress than peers in same-sex households, according to a new study published in the respected academic journal Demography.

    The finding is based on data from 1.6 million children in the 2000 Census, which included 8,632 children who lived in same-sex households.

    The new study also re-examines findings from a 2010 study that used the same data source but concluded that children raised in sex-same households progressed just as well as children in married heterosexual households when differences in the socio-economic status (i.e., household income and parental education) are taken into consideration.

    Why the different conclusions regarding children’s grade retention using the same data source?

    The Census provides only a single-year picture of children’s living arrangements, so its data do not reflect their full family history. For example, married households include both first-marriage and remarried couples. The 2010 study tried to address this issue by limiting its sample in two (as it turns out, significant) ways.

    First, it included only biological children (or “own children,” in Census terms) of the heads of the household in the Census. Second, the 2010 study examined only biological children who had lived in the same location for five or more years. Effectively, the 2010 study examined a subset of residentially stable children living with at least one biological parent.

    Noting that these two restrictions may not represent the full family experiences of all children, the new study re-examines the data without these two limitations. When both restrictions are lifted, the sample size increased by nearly 125 percent, from 716,740 children to 1,610,880 children.

    What happens when more children are included in the analysis? The new study finds that:

    • When the sample consisted of only biological children, regardless of residential stability, children in married heterosexual households were 25.8 percent more likely to make typical school progress than peers raised in same-sex households;
    • When the sample consisted only of children who stayed in the same residence for five or more years, regardless of their biological status, children in married heterosexual households were 29.5 percent more likely to make typical school progress than peers in same-sex households;
    • Even when adopted children are excluded from the residentially stable sample (taking into consideration that children adopted by married heterosexual couples may be different from those adopted by same-sex couples), children in married heterosexual households were still 24 percent more likely to make typical progress in school; and
    • When the sample consisted of all children, regardless of their biological status or residential stability, children in married heterosexual households were 35.4 percent more likely to make normal progress in school than peers in same-sex households.

    The new study accounts for households’ disability status, race, income, education, birthplace, metropolitan status, private-school attendance, and state residence. In other words, it compares children who are nearly identical on these characteristics.

    Consistent with previous research, these findings suggest that when considering how children’s family environment influences their outcomes, it is important to look at both family structure and stability.

    Together, the pair of studies underlines the complex dynamics between children’s family situations and their well-being, as well as the difficulty of analyzing that relationship even with sophisticated research methods and data. The studies also underscore the necessity for policymakers to weigh the full accumulating research evidence in their decision-making.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    12 Responses to Children of Same-Sex Unions: New Research on Family Stability and Structure

    1. CaliKate says:

      The link to the study in the article doesn't appear to work. Can you fix it?

    2. Bobbie says:

      It's just so unfortunate that studies outside our control are fabricated studies in favor of conflict without every consideration intentionally to mislead. Of course children of same sex marriages do worse in school. They don't have a household parented by one or equally balanced by one each of the opposite gender. Same sex doesn't promote children (damaging to the child's emotions) so why wouldn't children do worse in school? The poor things are just exploited in same sex marriages where children wouldn't be if it wasn't for those marriage benefits.

    3. kqduane says:

      Common sense tells you that raising innocent children under abnormal circumstances, no matter what they are, is never the best situation for the kids. Why the government or private adoption agencies would deliberately sacrifice 9000 children to the influence of clearly abnormal households makes me sick!! Obviously common sense has been destroyed by the evil of political correctness.

      • Ibdawnk says:

        We have thousands and thousands of kids waiting to be adopted in America. Do you propose that a child is better off bouncing from foster himself to foster home than they are in a stable homosexual home…REALLY?! Would they be better off in a heterosexual home?….maybe…but there are not enough of them.

    4. Margaret says:

      Bobbie,
      If you are going to comment on the academic achievement of children in same-sex households, shouldn't you at least do so using basic rules of English grammar? Given the level of literacy displayed in your post, I assume you aren't terribly well-educated.

      • Bobbie says:

        Well, thank you very much Margaret. Now that you've addressed it, why aren't you correcting it? I appreciate being corrected and have asked in my past comments because I'm not perfect in articulation or literacy or grammar but do appreciate learning from mistakes called out but if you're not gong to be specific, then you're insulting which is inherent in most unprincipled people.

    5. kaydell says:

      Studies show that it take both man and woman as role models for children and is the best enviroment. But this not even addressed. This thinking lets them to say you are baised and the persons who beleive this are just bigots. All previous empires fell and though many items contributed to failure–homosexuality was also noted.

    6. Scott_Rose says:

      The first issue is that the commentary in Demography is not a new "study;" it's a commentary on an existing study by Dr. Michael Rosenfeld. (The lead commentary writer is NOM's Douglas Allen). It is truly remarkable how the author of the above post — Christine Kim — manages to misreport information, and cherry pick to suit her gay-bashing world view. Despite all of the NOM-affiliated commentary authors' slight-of-hand, and misrepresentations, buried in the article one reads this: “we are unable to reject the hypothesis that there is no difference.” In other words, even the commentary writers confess that all other factors being equal, there is no evidence that children do better with heterosexual than with gay parents. Furthermore, according to Census Bureau estimates, 40% of the reported same-sex couples in the 2000 Census were likely different-sex married couples who miscoded the sex of one of the spouses and appeared to be same-sex couples. Given that the bulk of these errors are among different-sex married couples who are substantially more likely to have children than same-sex couples, we now can assume that a substantial majority of the reported same-sex couples with children in the Census 2000 Public Use Microdata samples are likely different-sex couples with children. Official acknowledgement of this problem came after the Rosenfeld paper was published. There is a way to adjust the data to minimize this substantial error and Rosenfeld does report that the adjustment does not substantially change his conclusions. However, he ultimately reports on findings from unadjusted data (remember, the Census Bureau had not confirmed the extent of the problem when Rosenfeld published his paper). This new commentary does not address the issue at all. Without adjusting the data for this now well-documented measurement error, it is very difficult to determine how much this problem might impact the new analysis.

    7. Jan Cosgrove says:

      Could it be that the hostility generated by those opposed not only to gay marriage but (be truthful) also to gay people could explain this? No surprise here – families subjected to constant social attack fare worse. Try blacks, single parents, the jobless. Why be at all surprised that this applies when rank prejudice coupled with a prurient refusal to mind one's own business about others choose to live has always helped its victims do less well.

      Empires? Well I suggest the current empires of mankind have far worse challenges than people being gay. You might as well argue, that as it seems gays were as plentiful when empires were rising, that they helped that too. Those challenges threaten all of us, one wonders why many folk lack a sense of priorities and prefer to snoop (even in virtual terms in their minds) into the lives of others.

      Let's ask – raising innocent children under a man who beats them, and his wife. That is better than 2 men raising innocent children and they don't beat them or each other. Do that comparison – one wonders how many such dysfunctional 'proper' households were included, where the wife bears her treatment in silence?

      Hopefully one day this sort of nonsense will cease – people will learn about real human values. Then such tests could be made on an even playing field. It really is hypocrisy to spend one's life being part of a system which oppresses such peope and then smirking that their kids do less well. Of course that's the case – and those who are responsible for such misery should be ashamed. How do you think it feels to be a child in such a household when s/he realises there are people with such views around?

      It may be said "well they don't have to adopt the kids and it wouldn't happen". to which one replies "you don't have to be intolerant of others, what they are, and that they want to build decent families".

      • Here says:

        So does that mean you're going to have to thought police everybody else to get what you want?

        Quit using the it's everybody else's fault excuse.

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