A study published last week in the journal Review of the Economics of the Household analyzes data taken from the 2011 Canadian Census in which young adults are asked the question: “Are you the child of a male or female same-sex married or common law couple?” This study looking at a very large pool of Canadian households, found that the children of same sex married or cohabitating couples are about 65 percent as likely to have graduated from high school than their peers who grew up in married, heterosexual homes. The study also found that gender matters too. Girls in gay households fared worse than boys, and boys in lesbian household fared worse than girls.
With the data from the Canadian Census, study author, Douglas Allen compared—side by side—the young-adult children of same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples, as well as children growing up in single-parent homes and other types of households. Allen notes that the main findings of the study revealed:
“children of married opposite-sex families have a high graduation rate compared to the others; children of lesbian families have a very low graduation rate compared to the others; and the other four types [common law, gay, single mother, single father] are similar to each other and lie in between the married/lesbian extremes.”
For years studies have been conducted on why some teens do not graduate from high school. The most recent studies suggest that family structure including parental involvement and religious worship are indicators on how well children will perform in school.
A study, asking high school drop outs why they did not graduate, found the most common answer to be a “lack of parental involvement”.
Another study suggests that religion plays a key role in the educational success of children. In a 2012 study looking at more than 8,300 teens and published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, researchers found that religiously-affiliated teens are 40 percent more likely to graduate high school and 70 percent more likely to enroll in college than nonreligious teens.
This year, Jaweed Kaleem from the Huffington Post reported that, “The survey, from the Pew Research Center, found that LGBT people are much less religious than the broader American population. About half — 48 percent — say they don’t have any religion, more than double the percentage of the general public that says the same.” This factor could indicate one reason why children being raised in same sex couple households appear to have a higher drop-out rate. This still does not explain the difference in gender. The gender difference seems to affirm that children really do need their married mother and father.
For additional reading on educational success indicators for children go here.