Research surveying the school performance of children in the Netherlands has indicated that kids raised by same-sex couples achieved better test results.
Economics researchers at the Belgian university KU Leuven compared the academic achievements of 1,200 kids raised by same-sex couples and more than a million children raised by opposite-sex couples who were born between 1995 and 2005.
The study, which was presented in January at the American Economic Association conference and written about in The Washington Post, analysed the results of a standardised test children in the Netherlands take at the end of primary education, usually around the age of 12.
For about 18 percent of the participants, researchers also collected information on their diploma results at the end of secondary education.
“Our findings indicate that children particularly benefit from same-sex couples compared to opposite-sex couples if the couple is cohabiting rather than married,” researchers wrote in the paper, titled “School Outcomes of Children Raised by Same-Sex Couples:
Evidence from Administrative Panel Data.”
They added: “Further, we also find that children from same-sex couples continue to outperform children from opposite-sex couples in secondary education. Our results suggest that children from same-sex couples are 6.7 percent more likely to graduate than children from opposite-sex couples.”
The researchers also explained that their results do not match previous studies on the subject—in some 2013 studies, there was actually a negative association between being raised by same-sex couples and school performance, while one study in 2010 and another in 2018 found no association at all.
According to the economists, these previous studies were unable to distinguish between kids actually raised by same-sex couples from birth and children who simply happened to live with a same-sex couple at one point in time.
Socio-economic conditions of same-sex couples may play a role in results
Researchers believe that the socio-economic conditions of the same-sex households the children grow up in may be a factor in their academic performance.
“Our results mostly support the selection approach stating that given the time-consuming and costly procedures for same-sex couples to obtain children, same-sex parents typically have a high socioeconomic status resulting in higher parental investment,” they state in the paper.
In fact, once they controlled for variables such as income, education and age, the difference in performance between kids raised by same-sex couples and those raised by opposite-sex couples was much reduced. “Nonetheless, the positive association was not entirely removed,” researchers added.
Researchers however recognised they were unable to infer as to whether the gender of same-sex couples mattered in the children’s performance due to the size of their sample, and were also unable to include results about children raised by single, LGBT+ parents or bisexual and transgender couples.