Hartford Courant (Sunday)
Children of same-sex couples all right in school
Study: Such kids have better test scores, grad rates
Children of same-sex couples perform better in school than kids raised by a mom and a dad, according to new research from several European economists.
The researchers found that children raised by same-sex couples had higher test scores in elementary and secondary school and were about 7 percent more likely to graduate from high school than children raised by differentsex couples.
The study by economists Deni Mazrekaj, Kristof de Witte and Sofie Cabus of Belgian university KU Leuven used government data tracking all children born in the Netherlands since 1995. The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001 and has generally been one of the most supportive nations for same-sex couples.
The data includes information about the child’s educational performance as well as data on the child’s parents and family income. Prior studies of the children of gay and lesbian parents have often had a small sample size of only a few dozen kids or have used U.S. Census Bureau data, which is only a one-time snapshot.
In total, this latest study tracked 1,200 children raised by same-sex couples and more than 1 million kids raised by different-sex couples.
The researchers found that same-sex parents are often wealthier, older and more educated than the typical different-sex couple. Same-sex couples often have to use expensive fertility treatments to have a child, meaning they are very motivated to become parents and tend to have a high level of wealth. This is likely to be a key reason their children perform well in school, the economists found.
“It is difficult for samesex couples to obtain children so they have to have a high socioeconomic status,” said Mazrekaj, who presented the research at the American Economic Association conference in Atlanta in January. “Research shows that socio-economic status positively influences the school outcome of children.”
When the economists controlled for income and wealth, there were a much smaller gap between the test scores of children of same-sex parents and children different-sex parents, although children of homosexual couples still had slightly higher scores.
Many prior studies have found no statistical difference in the educational performance or well-bring of children from gay or lesbian couples, but this latest research was also able to control for the effects of divorce, which often has a negative impact on school performance and can skew results.
When the researchers looked specifically at children born and raised by same-sex couples, they saw the higher educational performance versus heterosexual couples.