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Sarah Burgoyne

Same-sex households often include children

A new Family Profile from the National Center for Family and Marriage Research (NCFMR) at Bowling Green State University takes a closer look at same-sex couple households, and finds those households often include children. Sociology graduate student Sarah Burgoyne compiled the data.

Burgoyne utilized data from the U.S. Census Bureau 2010 American Community Survey of one-year population and housing records to present a demographic snapshot of same-sex parent households in the U.S. According to her research, “as of 2010, one in six same-sex couple households includes children.”

She found that male-male households are half as likely as female-female households to have children, 10 percent versus 22 percent, respectively.

The majority of same-sex parents of either gender have only one child. The youngest child in same-sex couple households is more likely to be between 6-17 years old than less than 6 years old.

Factoring in race and ethnicity, Burgoyne found that fewer white same-sex couples reported having children than their non-white counterparts. The presence of children is highest among African-American female same-sex couples.

“In addition, gender plays an important role when examining the educational differences in the presence of children in same-sex households,” Burgoyne reported. “I found stark educational differences in the presence of children in male-male couple households, but not for female-female households.”

Among male-male couple households where the head of the household had less than a high school education, 34 percent had children. Comparatively, only 6-percent of male-male couple households in which the head has at least a bachelor’s degree have children.

“As the number of children living with same-sex parents continues to grow, it will be increasingly important for us to understand the demographic profile of these households,” Burgoyne said.

Family Profiles examine topics related to NCFMR’s core research themes. Data are presented at both the national and state levels using new data sources.