Report: Gay parents in Texas fall behind straights financially

Posted on 31 Jan 2008 at 8:34pm
By Staff Reports

Study UCLA shows same-sex parents also have a lower
home-ownership rate than their straight counterparts

Same-sex parents in Texas have substantially fewer economic resources than their straight counterparts, according to a recently released study.

The study, from the Williams Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles, showed that the average household income for same-sex parents in Texas is $52,927, compared with $67,508 for heterosexual couples with children. Same-sex parents in Texas also have a lower home-ownership rate than their straight counterparts, 50 percent compared to 73 percent, according to the study.

According to Gary Gates, senior research fellow at the Williams Institute and a co-author of the study, there are several possible factors behind the discrepancies, which also have shown up in other states.

For example, a large proportion of same-sex parents are women or nonwhite, two groups that earn less on average. And same-sex parents tend to live in urban areas, where home ownerships rates are lower.

But another likely factor is that same-sex parents lack the right to marry, which can bring with it tax breaks and other financial advantages such as health insurance benefits and the ability to be legally recognized as a family without costly court proceedings.

“I think what these studies show is you see these disadvantages, and one of the potential ways to even that playing field is marriage, and that’s something that’s not available,” Gates said.

The study found that there were an estimated 49,423 same-sex couples in Texas in 2005, according to a periodic Census update known as the American Community Survey. That was up from 42,912 at the time of the last Census in 2000.

Gates said the increase is at least partly due to the fact that more same-sex couples were willing to identify as such.

To view the complete study, go to www.law.ucla.edu/williamsinstitute/publications/TexasCensusSnapshot.pdf.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 1, 2008

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