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Children of Same-Sex Unions: New Research on Family Stability and Structure
Posted By Christine Kim On December 3, 2012 @ 11:00 am In Family and Religion | 12 Comments
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:
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.
Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org
URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2012/12/03/children-of-same-sex-unions-new-research-on-family-stability-and-structure/
URLs in this post:
 new study: http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/979/art%253A10.1007%252Fs13524-012-0169-x.pdf?auth66=1354822760_a9fd3509e986c3d8f1c6bc63f74f8745&ext=.pdf
 2010 study: http://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/demography/v047/47.3.rosenfeld.pdf
 research: http://futureofchildren.org/futureofchildren/publications/docs/20_02_05.pdf
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