A new study on the academic performance of children of same-sex parents adds to growing evidence that these children often do as well, if not better, than other children.
The research, led by Dr Deni Mazrekaj at the University of Oxford’s Department of Sociology, shows that children raised by same-sex parents from birth perform better than children raised by different-sex parents in both primary and secondary education.
Published in the American Sociological Review, the study reveals that children raised by same-sex couples out-perform their peers regardless of sex, ethnicity, or parental marital status.
The research is based on unique administrative longitudinal data from the Netherlands; the first country to legalise same-sex marriage nearly two decades ago.
Although widely used in policy debates, previous studies of children’s outcomes when raised by same-sex parents have mostly relied on small selective samples or those based on cross-sectional survey data. This research is different with regard to its scale.
“Our data includes the entire population of children born between 1998 and 2007, following the educational performance of 2,971 children with same-sex parents and over a million children with different-sex parents from birth,” explained Dr Mazrekaj.
“This is the first study to address how children who were actually raised by same-sex parents from birth perform in school while retaining a large representative sample.”
Dr Mazrekaj noted that the socioeconomic status of the same-sex parents may have had an impact on the results. “We found that same-sex parents are often wealthier, older and more educated than the typical different-sex couple. Their children perform very well in school.”
He told UNILAD that even when socioeconomic status was factored in, the positive associations with academic performance reduced but remained positive.
“Thus it is likely that other factors also play a role, for instance these are wanted pregnancies and same-sex parents are also very likely to be highly motivated to become parents given the procedures they have to undergo to have children,” said Dr Mazrekaj.