High school graduation rates among children of same-sex households

An Erratum to this article was published on 27 November 2013


Almost all studies of same-sex parenting have concluded there is “no difference” in a range of outcome measures for children who live in a household with same-sex parents compared to children living with married opposite-sex parents. Recently, some work based on the US census has suggested otherwise, but those studies have considerable drawbacks. Here, a 20 % sample of the 2006 Canada census is used to identify self-reported children living with same-sex parents, and to examine the association of household type with children’s high school graduation rates. This large random sample allows for control of parental marital status, distinguishes between gay and lesbian families, and is large enough to evaluate differences in gender between parents and children. Children living with gay and lesbian families in 2006 were about 65 % as likely to graduate compared to children living in opposite sex marriage families. Daughters of same-sex parents do considerably worse than sons.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    Table 1 lists the studies. See Allen (2012) or Marks (2012) for surveys of this literature. Throughout the paper the term “same-sex household” is used to mean gay or lesbian headed households.

  2. 2.

    For example, it forms the basis for the American Psychological Association’s position supporting gay marriage.

  3. 3.

    Economists have written a considerable amount on gay and lesbian issues outside of child development, and generally find differences in behavior. For example, Negrusa and Oreffice (2011) on savings rates, Oreffice (2010) on labor supply, Black et al. (2007) on labor markets, Jepsen and Jepsen (2009) on home ownership, and Carpenter and Gates (2008) on family formation. Indeed, The Review of Economics of the Household devoted its 2008 December issue to gay and lesbian households. Those papers examined wage differentials [Zavodny (2008), Booth and Frank (2008)], household formation [Badgett et al. (2008)], and bank deposits [Klawitter (2008)]. This is the first paper in economics to examine differences in child performance.

  4. 4.

    This is often a characteristic of a nascent field. These measures include self reports on attitudes, awareness, and adjustments [e.g., McNeill and Rienzi (1998)]; self reports on parenting quality and socio-emotional child development [e.g., Golombok et al. (1997)]; self reports on psychological well-being, identity, and relationships [e.g., Tasker et al. (1995)]; self reports on family closeness, parental legitimacy, child bonding [e.g., Gartrell et al. (1999)]; and self reports on stigma and self-esteem [e.g., Gershon et al. (1999)].

  5. 5.

    “Snowballing” is the practice of asking individuals within a study to recruit their friends and associates to join the study.

  6. 6.

    The first Canadian same-sex marriages took place on January 14, 2001 at the Toronto Metropolitan Community Church. These became the basis of a successful legal challenge which ended at the court of appeal on June 10, 2003. On July 20, 2005, the Federal government passed the Civil Marriage Act that made Canada the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. Thus, different people date the arrival of same-sex marriage in Canada as 2001, 2003, or 2005.

  7. 7.

    Biblarz and Savci, p. 490, 2010.

  8. 8.

    Unfortunately, it also lumps married and common law same-sex couples together, and I am unable to separate them.

  9. 9.

    The census is not a panel, and provides only a snap shot of the population. As a result, this paper does not study the effect of growing up in a same-sex household, but rather examines the association of school performance for those children who lived with same-sex parents in 2006.

  10. 10.

    Rosenfeld (2010) stressed the importance of controlling for a child’s home life stability. He restricted the sample to households that remained in one place for the past 5 years. Here mobility is controlled for with a fixed effect on whether or not the child has remained in the home for 1 year. Results reported in the text all refer to this mobility control. The "Appendix" shows the results of the alternative control: did the child move residences in the past 5 years.

  11. 11.

    Andersson et al. (2006) note:

    The lack of representative samples is the most fundamental problem in quantitative studies on gays and lesbians, which commonly rely on self-recruited samples from an unknown population. [p. 81]

    See also Sweet (2009) or Stacey and Biblarz (2001).

  12. 12.

    These were Allen et al. (2013), Regnerus (2012), Rosenfeld (2010), Wainright et al. (2004), Wainright and Patterson (2006, 2008), and Golombok et al. (2003). One study used a population: Rothblum et al. (2008).

  13. 13.

    For example: Bos et al. (2007), Bos and Van Balen (2008), Chan et al. (1998a), Brewaeys et al. (1997) and Chan et al. (1998b).

  14. 14.

    For example: Lehmiller (2010), Bos (2010), or Power et al. (2010).

  15. 15.

    For example: Wright and Perry (2006), Oswald et al. (2008), Lehmiller (2010), Goldberg (2007), Bailey et al. (1995), Flaks et al. (1995), Fairtlough (2008), Dundas and Kaufman (2000), Power et al. or Fulcher et al. (2008).

  16. 16.

    For example: Balsam et al. (2008), Golombok et al. (2003).

  17. 17.

    For example: Stacey (2004, 2005) or Chrisp (2001).

  18. 18.

    Wainright and Patterson (2006, 2008) and Wainright et al. (2006).

  19. 19.

    Golombok et al. (2003) uses a random sample from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children—a local British study—and comes up with 18 lesbians. They then use snowball methods to bring their numbers up to 39 lesbians.

  20. 20.

    The 2000 US Census does not directly identify same-sex couples. Rosenfeld, like others, did the best he could by indirectly identifying them. He did this by selecting those couples who indicated they were a couple and who identified their sex as being the same. This procedure requires the correct answer of three questions, and a small chance of error on the part of heterosexuals can lead to a large measurement error for the same-sex couple sample, given the large size of the former and the small size of the latter. Black et al. (2006) suggest a procedure for correcting this statistical problem; however, there is no indication in the Rosenfeld paper that he followed it.

  21. 21.

    The Regnerus study (2012) also used a random sample; however, it was still too small to identify a sufficient sample of same-sex parents. To increase his sample size he decided to use a broader definition of same-sex parent.

  22. 22.

    Of the fifty-three studies examined here, only a few dealt with gay male parents. Almost all of the studies are done on lesbians. This is another source of bias that warrants caution in drawing any conclusions about non-lesbian families.

  23. 23.

    These were Rosenfeld (2010) and Allen et al. (2013). According to Nock (p. 37, 2001), to properly test any hypothesis regarding gay parenting, a sample size of 800 is required.

  24. 24.

    Often the problem of small sample size comes from low response rates. Many of the fifty-two studies are silent on the question of response rates to their surveys, but when information is provided it often shows that response rates are very low. For example, in Bos (2010) the gay males were recruited from an Internet mail list for gay parents. Although the list had 1,000 names, only 36 replied and participated in the study. This amounts to a 3.6 % response rate. Other studies (e.g., Chan et al. and Fulcher et al.) have reductions in their samples similar in relative size to Rosenfeld. Response rates lower than 60 % are usually taken to mean the presence of a strong selection bias—even when the initial list is random.

  25. 25.

    This file is not a public use data set. To use the data, a proposal is screened by the Social Sciences Research Council of Canada, an RCMP criminal check is conducted, and the researcher becomes a deemed employee of Statistics Canada subject to the penalties of the Statistics Act. Empirical work was conducted at the SFU Research Data Center, and all results were screened by Statistics Canada before release. Statistics Canada does not allow any unweighted observations or descriptives to be released, nor any maximums or minimums of weighted estimates, nor sample sizes for the weighted regressions.

  26. 26.

    Because the procedure starts by selecting the children, and then matches the parents of the child to the file, the problem of having a non-biological parent not report a child in the household who is biologically related to their spouse is avoided.

  27. 27.

    Statistics Canada does not allow the sample sizes to be released; however, there are approximately ten million children in Canada, and so the sample has close to two million children in it.

  28. 28.

    There’s no reason to believe this selection bias would be correlated with family type, however. All regressions were run with various restrictions on the child’s age within the sample, including keeping everyone, and none of the gay or lesbian family results in the paper change, in terms of magnitudes or levels of significance, in an important way.

  29. 29.

    Many children in Canada who live with a gay or lesbian parent are actually living with a single parent. About 64 % of children in gay homes have a single father, and about 46 % of children in lesbian homes have a single mother (see Allen and Lu, “Marriage and children: differences across sexual orientations,” (unpublished, 2013). The number of gay and lesbian single parent homes is so small compared to all other single parent homes, however, that it likely causes little bias. In any event, the children analyzed here are a distinct subset of all children raised by a gay or lesbian parent.

  30. 30.

    The census identifies many visible minorities, but only has a broad based question on race. Hence, the same race variable likely contains significant measurement error.

  31. 31.

    This control is lacking in other large sample studies on same-sex parents. It is important because a previous marriage disruption is likely to have a negative impact on high school performance. This is particularly important with same-sex couples given the evidence that their relationships are less stable [see Andersson et al. (2006)].

  32. 32.

    Using current parental marital status is a decent control for family history (as used here), but the coefficients estimated are biased measures of the correlation of parental marital history on child school performance. For this reason, and to keep the tables to one page, these coefficients are not reported.

  33. 33.

    Rosenfeld (2010), and Allen et al. (2013) use normal progress through school as their measure of child performance. The Canada census does not identify the grade of the student in 2006, and therefore, this measure is not possible. It does, however, identify if the child has graduated from high school or not.

  34. 34.

    Two mobility measures are used because of the important role mobility played in Rosenfeld (2010). He decided to restrict his sample by removing households that moved within the past 5 years. This procedure was also performed here. No qualitative difference was made in terms of the point estimates. Rather than controlling for whether or not the child had moved residences over the past one or 5 years, the regressions were also run controlling for whether or not the child changed census metropolitan areas over the past 1 or 5 years. No qualitative difference in the point estimates on type of household resulted, although they were estimated with more precision. All regressions cluster by province to provide robust standard errors.

  35. 35.

    The key to interpreting the odds ratio is to compare it to the odds of 1 (equally likely). Hence, an odds ratio of 1.2 means that a unit change in an independent variable, others held constant, increases the chance of a positive outcome by 20 %.

  36. 36.

    The odds are reduced to around 70–80 %, but keep in mind this variable contains measurement error.

  37. 37.

    They are also reasonably close to the unconditional estimated average graduation rates found in Table 3. The odds ratios are .71 and .64 for the 5 year mobility measure.

  38. 38.

    The reported odds ratios are relative to children from opposite sex married parents. Compared to children of opposite sex cohabitating parents, the children of same-sex parents do even worse. This can be seen indirectly from Table 5. If cohabitating parents are the left out category, the odds ratio (standard error) for high school graduation from a gay home is 0.61 (0.132), and 0.53 (0.138) from a lesbian home—when all controls are used.

  39. 39.

    In order to further test the idea that lower graduation rates for children of gay and lesbian parents may be the result of a negative environment, more controls were used for location. Rather than just control for the province of residence, in an alternative specification the census metropolitan area was also controlled for. For gay parents the odds ratio changes from 0.69 to 0.68 if the 1 year mobility control is used with all other controls, and remains unchanged if the 5 year mobility control is used. For lesbian parents the odd ration changes from 0.60 to 0.57, and from 0.64 to 0.58 depending on the mobility control. These estimates have slightly lower standard errors.

  40. 40.

    Within the literature, see Chrisp (2001), which addresses sons in lesbian homes. Within the popular culture, see Modern Family, Season 4, Episode 19, where the gay couple Cam and Mitchell decide their daughter Lily needs the input of aunt Gloria to discuss “girl issues.”

  41. 41.

    For school attendance only the results for the 1 year mobility control are reported. The results for controlling for 5  year mobility were virtually identical. An unreported regression on primary school attendance found no difference between the different household types.

  42. 42.

    It might seem odd that the effect of Age is positive. However, the dependent variable is 1 if the child ever attended school, or is now attending. Given that some students start school later than age 5, and that many children are home schooled in primary divisions, a positive effect of Age is expected. If the regression is run restricting the sample to students older than 12, the age effect is greatly removed. When the sample is restricted to various age ranges (e.g., starting at ages 6–12, or ending at ages 17–22, the odds ratios for the family type variables barely change at all and remain statistically indistinguishable.

  43. 43.

    As mentioned, the census data has an imperfect measure of marital status. Those “currently married” could be divorced from an earlier marriage. Given the higher marriage rate for opposite sex couples, the estimated odds ratio on graduation rates for children of same-sex families may be biased upwards. The true effect may be larger and more troubling.


  1. Allen, D. W. (2012). More heat than light: A critical assessment of the same-sex parenting literature, 1995–2012. Working paper, Simon Fraser University

  2. Allen, D. W.., Pakaluk, C., & Price, J. (2013). Nontraditional families and childhood progress through school: A comment on Rosenfeld. Demography, 50(3), 955–961.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Andersson, G., Noack, T., Seierstad, A., & Weedon-Fekjaer, H. (2006). The demographics of same-sex marriages in Norway and Sweden. Demography, 43(1), 79–98.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Badgett, M. V. L., Gates, G., & Maisel, N. (2008). Registered domestic partnerships among gay men and lesbians: The role of economic factors. Review of Economics of the Household, 6(4), 327–346.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Bailey, J. M., Bobrow, D., Wolfe, M., & Mikach, S. (1995). Sexual orientation of adult sons of gay fathers. Developmental Psychology, 31(1), 124–129.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Balsam, K., Beauchaine, T., Rothblum, E., & Solomon, S. (2008). Three-year follow-up of same-sex couples who had civil unions in Vermont, same-sex couples not in civil unions, and heterosexual married couples. Developmental Psychology, 44(1), 102–116.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Barrett, H., & Tasker, F. (2001). Growing up with a gay parent: Views of 101 gay fathers on their sons’ and daughters’ experiences. Educational and Child Psychology, 18(1), 62–77.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Becker, G. (1981). A treatise on the family. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Biblarz, T., & Stacey, J. (2010). How does the gender of parents matter?. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, 3–22.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Biblarz, T., & Savci, E. (2010). Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, 480–497.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Black, D., Sanders, S., & Taylor, L. (2007). The economics of lesbian and gay families. Journal of Economic Perspectives., 21(2), 53–70.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Black, D., Sanders, S., & Taylor, L. (2006). The measurement of same-sex unmarried partner couples in the 2000 US Census. California Center for Population Research Working Paper, 2007b.

  13. Booth, A., & Frank, J. (2008). Marriage, partnership and sexual orientation: A study of British university academics and administrators. Review of Economics of the Household, 6(4), 409–422.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Bos, H. (2010). Planned gay father families in kinship arrangements. Australia and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 31(4), 356–371.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Bos, H., & van Balen, F. (2008). Children in planned lesbian families: Stigmatisation, psychological adjustment and protective factors. Culture, Health, and Sexuality, 10(3), 221–236.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Bos, H., van Balen, F., & van den Boom, D. (2007). Child adjustment and parenting in planned lesbian parent families. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 77(1), 38–48.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Bos, H., van Balen, F., van den Boom, D., & Sandfort, Th. (2004). Minority stress, experience of parenthood and child adjustment in lesbian families. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 22(4), 1–14.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Bos, H., van Balen, F., Gartrell, N., Peyser, H., & Sandfort, T. (2008). Children in planned lesbian families: A cross-cultural comparison between the United States and the Netherlands. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 78(2), 211–219.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Brewaeys, A., Ponjaert, I., Van Hall, E. V., & Golombok, S. (1997). Donor insemination: Child development and family functioning in lesbian mother families. Human Reproduction, 12(6), 1349–1359.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Carpenter, C., & Gates, G. (2008). Gay and lesbian partnership: Evidence from California. Demography, 45(3), 573–590.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Chan, R., Brooks, R., Raboy, B., & Patterson, C. (1998a). Division of labor among lesbian and heterosexual parents: Associations with children’s adjustment. Journal of Family Psychology, 12(3), 402–419.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Chan, R., Raboy, B., & Patterson, C. (1998b). Psychosocial adjustment among children conceived via donor insemination by lesbian and heterosexual mothers. Child Development, 69(2), 443–457.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Chrisp, J. (2001). That four letter word–sons: Lesbian mothers and adolescent son. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 5(1-2), 195–209.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Clarke, V., Kitzinger, C., & Potter, J. (2004). Kids are just cruel anyway: Lesbian and gay parents talk about homophobic bullying. British Journal of Social Psychology, 43, 531–550.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Cloughessy, K. (2010). Sorry, but you’re not a mother: An examination of the validity of the de facto threshold in determining motherhood for the non-birth mother in lesbian-parented families. Gay& Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review, 6(2), 82–90.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Dundas, S., & Kaufman, M. (2000). The Toronto lesbian family study. Journal of Homosexuality, 40, 65–79.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Fairtlough, A. (2008). Growing up with a lesbian or gay parent: Young people’s perspectives. Health and Social Care in the Community, 16(5), 521–528.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Flaks, D., Ficher, I., Masterpasqua, F., & Joseph, G. (1995). Lesbians choosing motherhood: A comparative study of lesbian and heterosexual parents and their children. Developmental Psychology, 31(1), 105–114.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Fulcher, M., Sutfin, E., & Patterson, C. (2008). Individual differences in gender development: Associations with parental sexual orientation, attitudes, and division of labor. Sex Roles, 58, 330–341.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Fulcher, M., Chan, R., Raboy, B., & Patterson, C. (2002). Contact with grandparents among children conceived via donor insemination by lesbian and heterosexual mothers. Parenting: Science and Practice, 2(1), 61–76.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Gartrell, N., Bos, H. (2010). US national longitudinal lesbian family study: Psychological adjustment of 17 year old adolescents. Pediatrics, doi:10.1542/peds.2009-3153.

  32. Gartrell, N., Deck, A., Rodas, C., & Peyser, H. (2005). The national lesbian family study 4: Interviews with the 10-year old children. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 75(4), 518–524.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Gartrell, N., Banks, A., Reed, N., Hamilton, J., Rodas, C., & Deck, A. (2000). The national lesbian family study 3: Interviews with mothers of five-year olds. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 70(4), 542–548.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Gartrell, N., Banks, A., Reed, N., Hamilton, J., Rodas, C., & Biship, H. (1999). The national lesbian family study: 2. Interviews with mothers of toddlers. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 69(3), 362–369.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Gershon, T., Tschann, J., & Jemerin, J. (1999). Stigmatization, self-esteem, and coping among the adolescent children of lesbian mothers. Journal of Adolescent Health, 24, 437–445.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Goldberg, A. (2010). Lesbian and gay parents and their children: Research on the family life cycle. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  37. Goldberg, A. (2007). (How) does it make a difference? Perspectives of adults with lesbian, gay, and bisexual parents. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 77(4), 550–562.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Goldberg, A., Downing, J., & Sauck, C. (2008). Perceptions of children’s parental preferences in lesbian two-mother households. Journal of Marriage and Family, 70, 419–434.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Golombok, S., Perry, B., Burston, A., Murray, C., Mooney-Somers, J., Stevens, M., Golding, J.et al. (2003). Children with lesbian parents: A community study. Developmental Psychology, 39(1), 20–33.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Golombok, S., & Tasker, F. (1996). Do parents influence the sexual orientation of their children? Findings from a longitudinal study of lesbian families. Developmental Psychology, 32(1), 3–11.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Golombok, S., Tasker, F., & Murray, C. (1997). Children raised in fatherless families from Infancy: Family relationships and the socioemotional development of children of lesbian and single heterosexual mothers. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 38, 783–791.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Jepsen, C., & Jepsen, L. (2009). Does home ownership vary by sexual orientation?. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 39(3), 307–315.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Klawitter, M. (2008). The effects of sexual orientation and marital status on how couples hold their money. Review of Economics and the Household, 6(4), 423–446.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Lehmiller, J. (2010). Differences in relationship investments between gay and heterosexual men. Personal Relationships, 17(1), 81–96.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Leung, P., Erich, S., & Kanenberg, H. (2005). A comparison of family functions in gay/lesbian, heterosexual and special needs adoptions. Children and Youth Services Review, 27, 1031–1044.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Lev, A. (2008). More than surface tension: Femmes in families. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 12(2-3), 126–143.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Lewin, E. (2006). Book review: ‘The family of woman: Lesbian mothers, their children and the undoing of gender’ by Maureen Sullivan. Theory and Society, 35, 601–605.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. MacCallum, F., & Golombok, S. (2004). Children raised in fatherless families from infancy: A follow-up of children of lesbian and single heterosexual mothers at early adolescence. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45(8), 1407–1419.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Marks, L. (2012). Same-sex parenting and children’s outcomes: A closer examination of the American Psychological Association’s brief on lesbian and gay parenting. Social Science Research, 41(4), 735–751.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. McNeill, K., & Rienzi, B. (1998). Families and parenting: A comparison of lesbian and heterosexual mothers. Psychological Reports, 82, 59–62.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Negrusa, B., & Oreffice, S. (2011). Sexual orientation and household financial decisions: Evidence from couples in the United States. Review of Economics of the Household, 18(2), 445–463.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Nock, S. L. (2001). Sworn affidavit of Stephen Lowell Nock. Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Between Hedy Halpern et al. and the Attorney General of Canada et al.: Court File No. 684/00.

  53. Oreffice, S. (2010). Sexual orientation and household decision making. Same-sex couples balance of power and labor supply choices. Labour Economics, 18(2), 145–158.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Oswald, R., Goldberg, A., Kuvalanka, K., & Clausell, E. (2008). Structural and moral commitment among same-sex couples: Relationship duration, religiosity, and parental status. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(3), 411–419.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Patterson, C. (1995). Families of the lesbian baby boom: Parent’s division of labor and children’s adjustment. Developmental Psychology, 31(1), 411–419.

    Google Scholar 

  56. Patterson, C. (2001). Families of the lesbian baby boom: Maternal mental health and child adjustment. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Psychotherapy, 4(3/4), 91–107.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Patterson, C., Hurt, S., & Mason, C. (1998). Families of the lesbian baby boom: Children’s contact with grandparents and other adults. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 68(3), 390–399.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Patterson, C., Sutfin, E., & Fulcher, M. (2004). Division of labor among lesbian and heterosexual parenting couples: Correlates of specialized versus shared patterns. Journal of Adult Development, 11(3), 179–189.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Power, J., Perlesz, A., Brown, R., Schofield, M., Pitts, M., Mcnair, R., Bickerdike, A.et al. (2010). Diversity, tradition and family: Australian same sex attracted parents and their families. Gay& Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review, 6(2), 66–81.

    Google Scholar 

  60. Regnerus, M. (2012). How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study. Social Science Research, 41(4), 752–770.

    Google Scholar 

  61. Rivers, I., Poteat, V. P., & Noret, N. (2008). Victimization, social support, and psychosocial functioning among children of same-sex and opposite-sex couples in the United Kingdom. Developmental Psychology, 44(1), 127–134.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Rothblum, E., Balsam, K., & Solomon, S. (2008). Comparison of same-sex couples who were married in Massachusetts, had domestic partnerships in California, or had civil unions in Vermont. Journal of Family Issues, 29(1), 48–78.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Rosenfeld, M. (2010). Nontraditional families and childhood progress through school. Demography, 47(3), 755–775.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Sarantkos, S. (1996). Children in three contexts: Family, education, and social development. Children Australia, 21, 23–31.

    Google Scholar 

  65. Scheib, J., Riordan, M., & Rubin, S. (2005). Adolescents with open-identity sperm donors: Reports from 12–17 year olds. Human Reproduction, 20(1), 239–252.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  66. Stacey, J. (2005). The families of man: Gay male intimacy and kinship in a global metropolis. Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 30(3), 1911–1937.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  67. Stacey, J. (2004). Cruising to familyland: Gay hypergamy and rainbow kinship. Current Sociology, 52(2), 181–197.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  68. Stacey, J., & Biblarz, T. (2001). (How) does the sexual orientation of parents matter?. American Sociological Review, 66, 159–183.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  69. Sutfin, E. L., Fulcher, M., Bowles, R. P., & Patterson, C. J. (2008). How lesbian and heterosexual parents convey attitudes about gender to their children: The role of gendered environments. Sex Roles, 58, 501–513.

    Google Scholar 

  70. Sweet, M. (2009). The science of unisex parenting: A review of published studies. (unpublished manuscript).

  71. Tasker, F., & Golombok, S. (1995). Adults raised as children in lesbian families. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 65(2), 203–215.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  72. Vanfraussen, K., Ponjaert-Kristoffersen, I., & Brewaeys, A. (2002). What does it mean for youngsters to grow up in a lesbian family created by means of donor insemination?. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 20(4), 237–252.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  73. Wainright, J., & Patterson, C. (2006). Delinquency, victimization, and substance use among adolescents with female same sex parents. Journal of Family Psychology, 20(3), 526–530.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  74. Wainright, J., & Patterson, C. (2008). Peer relations among adolescents with female same-sex parents. Developmental Psychology, 44(1), 117–126.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  75. Wainright, J., Russell, S., & Patterson, C. (2004). Psychosocial adjustment, school outcomes, and romantic relationships of adolescents with same sex parents. Child Development, 75(6), 1886–1898.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  76. Wright, E., & Perry, B. (2006). Sexual identity distress, social support, and the health of gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth. Journal of Homosexuality, 51(1), 81–110.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  77. Zavodny, M. (2008). Is there a ‘marriage premium’ for gay men?. Review of Economics of the Household, 6(4), 369–389.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


Thanks to Sonia Oreffice, Krishna Pendakur, and three journal referees for their comments. This project was funded by the Social Sciences Research Council of Canada.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Douglas W. Allen.



See Table 8.

Table 8 Odds ratios of high school graduation (weighted observations, children ages 17–22, dependent variable: 1 if child graduated from high school controlling for moved within past 5 years)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Allen, D.W. High school graduation rates among children of same-sex households. Rev Econ Household 11, 635–658 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11150-013-9220-y

Download citation


  • Same sex households
  • Same sex parents
  • High school graduation

JEL Classification

  • I21
  • J12
  • J16