Six Million American Children and Adults Have an Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Parent

Williams Institute releases national study analyzing LGBT parenting demographics

LOS ANGELES— An estimated 37% of LGBT Americans have had a child, meaning as many as six million American children and adults have an LGBT parent, according to findings from a national study released  today by Williams Institute Distinguished Scholar, Gary J. Gates.

Gates said of the study, “These analyses highlight the diversity and prevalence of LGBT parents and their children in the U.S.  The data show that LGBT families are clearly part of modern American life.”

“LGBT Parenting in the United States” provides a demographic portrait of LGBT parenting in the United States. The report found that same-sex couple parents and their children are more likely to be racial and ethnic minorities. An estimated 39 percent of individuals in same-sex couples with children under age 18 at home are non-white, as are half of their children.  LGBT parents live in states from coast to coast, but many do not actually live on the coasts. States with the highest proportions of same-sex couples raising biological, adopted or step-children include Mississippi (26%), Wyoming (25%), Alaska (23%), Idaho (22%), and Montana (22%).

Notably, the report found that LGBT individuals and same-sex couples raising children face greater economic challenges than their non-LGBT counterparts. Single LGBT adults raising children are three times more likely than comparable non-LGBT individuals to report household incomes near the poverty threshold. Married or partnered LGBT individuals living in two-adult households with children are twice as likely as comparable non-LGBT individuals to report household incomes near the poverty threshold. Several factors likely contribute to the relative economic disadvantages of same-sex couples with children, including that LGB parents are more likely to be female, black, Latino/a, and younger than their different-sex counterparts. In the U.S., all of these groups, on average, have lower incomes.

The demographic portrait Gates provides is the result of analysis from several data sources, including the 2008/2010 General Social Survey, the Gallup Daily Tracking Survey, Census 2010, and the Census Bureau’s 2011 American Community Survey (ACS).

Click here for the full study.