Orlando Sentinel (Sunday)

Study: Children of same-sex parents perform better in school

- By Heather Long

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.

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