Public discussion about American families often assumes the nation is largely made up of married heterosexual couples raising their biological children. Yet less than a quarter of all U.S. households fall into this category. Today’s children may be raised by grandparents, single parents, stepparents, aunts, uncles or foster parents. Their parents may be married or unmarried; they may be heterosexual or lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).
Unfortunately, public policy has not kept up with the changing reality of the American family. Indeed, our laws and discourse largely ignore the roughly two million children being raised by a parent or parents who are LGBT. They also ignore children in other family configurations, such as those with unmarried heterosexual parents. As a result, many Americans are unaware of the ways in which unequal treatment and social stigma harm the millions of children whose families do not fit into a certain mold.
Key Findings (from the Family Equality Council):
- The number of children with LGBT parents is significant. Roughly two million children are being raised in LGBT families.
- LGBT families are more likely to be poor. Contrary to stereotypes, children being raised by same-sex couples are twice as likely to live in poverty as those in married heterosexual households. Same- sex couples of color raising children are more likely to be poor than white same-sex couples raising children.
- Same-sex couples raising children are more racially and ethnically diverse. In all, 59% of same-sex couples with children identify as white compared to 73% of married different-sex couples with children. Same-sex couples of color are more likely to raise children than white same-sex couples.
- LGBT families are geographically diverse. LGBT families live in 96% of U.S. counties, and same-sex couples in the South are more likely to be raising children than those in other regions of the country.
- LGBT families are more likely to be binational. Nearly half (46%) of binational same-sex couples are rearing children compared to 31% of same-sex couples in which both partners are U.S. citizens.
Reports and Publications:
October 2011 - Family Equality Council: All Children Matter: How Legal and Social Inequalities Hurt LGBT Families