Children with same-sex parents perform better academically, according to new research

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Children with same-sex parents do better at school and are more likely to graduate from high school and go on to tertiary education, new research has found. 

Published in the journal Demography, the study by Jan Kabatek from the University of Melbourne and Francisco Perales from the University of Queensland, found children did better on standardised tests than those with different-sex parents. 

This, they argued in a piece written for The Conversation, dispelled common misconceptions that same-sex parents were less capable or invested in their children's success than different-sex parents. 

They assessed families in the Netherlands, looking at data from 13 consecutive cohorts of primary school students between 2006-2018, comparing the academic outcomes of children raised by different-sex parents to those with same-sex parents, taking into account things such as income and education levels. 

Children with same-sex parents were found to perform 13 per cent better, with higher marks seen across all modules, such as maths, language and general learning ability.

The children were also found to be 1.5 per cent more likely to graduate high school and 11.2 per cent more likely to enrol at university. 

While the researchers said the data could not account for the reasons, they suggested the barriers same-sex parents have to overcome to become parents often made them more committed to parenting roles, as well as more positive parenting as conception was always intentional. 

They also noted the Dutch legislative support for same-sex couples, including equal access to IVF, formal recognition of both parents and the right to adopt children and high levels of public approval for same-sex couples as also boosting positive outcomes.

Adding that in countries where there are additional hurdles or prejudice, children may be negatively affected.  


"Our findings directly contradict def­i­cit models of same-sex parenting, as well as claims that being raised in a same-sex-parented family has an independent, detrimental effect on children," they concluded. 

"Instead, they support the idea that in sociopolitical environments characterised by high levels of legislative or public support, children in same-sex-parented families fare at least as well as children in different-sex-parented families."

Their findings following research from Oxford University last year which also found children with same-sex parents performed better in both primary and secondary education. 

Published in the American Sociological Review, the study found same-sex parents tended to be wealthier, older, highly motivated and more educated than different-sex parents.