STUDY: Same-Sex Parents Are Prevalent, Ethnically Diverse, And Struggling Economically

A new report from the Williams Institute paints a compelling picture of the nation’s same-sex couples, as well as the LGBT people in general who have had children. Not only are they particular prevalent, but they are also ethnically diverse. Unfortunately, many are struggling economically, contrary to stereotype.

Here are some of the compelling new data points:

LGBT Parents

  • Over a third (37 percent) of LGBT-identified adults have had a child at some time in their lives.
  • An estimated 3 million LGBT Americans have had a child and as many as 6 million Americans have an LGBT parent.

Same-Sex Parents

  • Nearly half (48 percent) of all LGBT female couples and 20 percent of LGBT male couples under the age of 50 are raising children.
  • More than 125,000 same-sex couple households (19 percent) are raising over 220,000 children under the age of 18.
  • Same-sex couples who consider themselves to be spouses are twice as likely (31 percent) to be raising children compared to unmarried same-sex partners (14 percent).
  • Same-sex couples are four times more likely to be raising adopted children compared to opposite-sex couples, raising more than 22,000 adopted children.

Diversity and Income

  • About 39 percent of individuals in same-sex couples raising children are people of color (compared to 36 percent among opposite-sex couples).
  • Half of all children living with same-sex couples are non-White (compared to 41 percent among opposite-sex couples.)
  • Single LGBT adults raising children are three times more likely than similar non-LGBT people to report household incomes near the poverty threshold.
  • Same-sex couples living in two-adult households with children are twice as likely to report household incomes near the poverty threshold compared to similar non-LGBT people.
  • The median annual household income of same-sex couples with children is significantly lower than that of similar opposite-sex couples ($63,900 versus $74,000, respectively).

These results actually confirm that what conservatives claim about marriage applies to same-sex couples equally. Marriage is an important framework with key economic benefits that specifically support children. With helpful research like this made available, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for opponents of LGBT equality to claim that same-sex families are not already a significant reality.