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The Next America - Statistics 2012 / Statistics

Same-Sex Parents: U.S. Demographic Snapshot

photo of Doris Nhan
June 18, 2012

As states begin to contend with their support of--or opposition to--same-sex marriage, the debate over the legitimacy of same-sex couples raising children also comes into the spotlight. LGBT parents are raising nearly 2 million children, according to a joint report by the Movement Advancement Project,the  Family Equality Council, and the Center for American Progress. Here are some of the report's other findings:

  • According to the 2010 census, less than 1 percent of U.S. households were reported to be of same-sex partners. From 2000 to 2010, the number of people reporting to be living in a household with a same-sex partner rose by 80.4 percent, though both numbers were still less than 1 percent.
  • Of the 1.6 million adopted children in the U.S., 65,000, or 4 percent, are being raised by gay and lesbian parents. About 14,000 foster children, or 3 percent of all foster children in the U.S., live with LGBT parents.
  • Same-sex foster parents are more likely to be families of color than are heterosexual married foster parents. Same-sex couples of color are also more likely than white same-sex couples to be raising children.
  • 59 percent of same-sex parents are white, compared to 73 percent of married heterosexual parents.
  • Children raised by same-sex couples are twice as likely to live in poverty than those raised by married heterosexual couples.
  • Same-sex couples with children reported an average household income of $59,270, compared with an average of $74,777 for married hetereosexual couples.
  • Same-sex couples in the South are more likely to raise children. The most likely states are: Mississippi, Wyoming, Alaska, Arkansas, and Texas. Overall, LGBT parents live in 96 percent of U.S. counties.
  • Two-thirds of male same-sex couples who are raising children were reported to be Hispanic; 58 percent of female same-sex couples who are raising children were Hispanic.

Sources: “All Children Matter: How Legal and Social Inequalities Hurt LGBT Families” and “Households and Families: 2010 Census Brief.”

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