A Research Note on Time With Children in Different- and Same-Sex Two-Parent Families
- 1.8k Downloads
Public debate on same-sex marriage often focuses on the disadvantages that children raised by same-sex couples may face. On one hand, little evidence suggests any difference in the outcomes of children raised by same-sex parents and different-sex parents. On the other hand, most studies are limited by problems of sample selection and size, and few directly measure the parenting practices thought to influence child development. This research note demonstrates how the 2003–2013 American Time Use Survey (n = 44,188) may help to address these limitations. Two-tier Cragg’s Tobit alternative models estimated the amount of time that parents in different-sex and same-sex couples engaged in child-focused time. Women in same-sex couples were more likely than either women or men in different-sex couples to spend such time with children. Overall, women (regardless of the gender of their partners) and men coupled with other men spent significantly more time with children than men coupled with women, conditional on spending any child-focused time. These results support prior research that different-sex couples do not invest in children at appreciably different levels than same-sex couples. We highlight the potential for existing nationally representative data sets to provide preliminary insights into the developmental experiences of children in nontraditional families.
KeywordsParenting Family structure LGBT Time use Gender
This research was supported by Grant 5 R24 HD042849, Population Research Center, and Grant 5 T32 HD007081, Training Program in Population Studies, awarded to the Population Research Center at The University of Texas at Austin by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2014). American Time Use Survey user’s guide: Understanding ATUS 2003 to 2013. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor.Google Scholar
- Burke, W. J. (2009). Fitting and interpreting Cragg’s Tobit alternative using Stata. Stata Journal, 9, 584–592.Google Scholar
- Crouch, S. R., Waters, E., McNair, R., Power, J., & Davis, E. (2014). Parent-reported measures of child health and wellbeing in same-sex parent families: A cross-sectional survey. BMC Public Health , 14, 635. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-635
- Gates, G. (2009). Same-sex spouses and unmarried partners in the American Community Survey, 2008. Los Angeles, CA: The Williams Institute.Google Scholar
- Joslin, C. (2011). Searching for harm: Same-sex marriage and the well-being of children. Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review (CR-CL), 46, 81–101.Google Scholar
- Stewart, J. (2009). Tobit or not Tobit? (BLS Working Papers). Washington, DC: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.Google Scholar
- U.S. Census Bureau. (2014). 2014 census test: Questions. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census/2020-census/research-testing/testing-activities/2014-census-test/questions.html