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Family Structure and Child Health: Does the Sex Composition of Parents Matter?

Author

Listed:
  • Corinne Reczek

    (The Ohio State University)

  • Russell Spiker

    (The University of Cincinnati)

  • Hui Liu

    (Michigan State University)

  • Robert Crosnoe

    (The University of Texas at Austin)

Abstract

The children of different-sex married couples appear to be advantaged on a range of outcomes relative to the children of different-sex cohabiting couples. Despite the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States, whether and how this general pattern extends to the children of same-sex married and cohabiting couples is unknown. This study examines this question with nationally representative data from the 2004–2013 pooled National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Results reveal that children in cohabiting households have poorer health outcomes than children in married households regardless of the sex composition of their parents. Children in same-sex and different-sex married households are relatively similar to each other on health outcomes, as are children in same-sex and different-sex cohabiting households. These patterns are not fully explained by socioeconomic differences among the four different types of families. This evidence can inform general debates about family structure and child health as well as policy interventions aiming to reduce child health disparities.

Suggested Citation

  • Corinne Reczek & Russell Spiker & Hui Liu & Robert Crosnoe, 2016. "Family Structure and Child Health: Does the Sex Composition of Parents Matter?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(5), pages 1605-1630, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:53:y:2016:i:5:d:10.1007_s13524-016-0501-y
    DOI: 10.1007/s13524-016-0501-y
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Chen, Shuai & van Ours, Jan C., 2020. "Symbolism matters: The effect of same-sex marriage legalization on partnership stability," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 44-58.
    2. Anders Björklund & Lina Aldén & Mats Hammarstedt, 2017. "Early Health and School Outcomes for Children with Lesbian Parents: Evidence from Sweden," Working Papers 2017-033, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    3. Diederik Boertien & Fabrizio Bernardi, 2019. "Same-Sex Parents and Children’s School Progress: An Association That Disappeared Over Time," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 56(2), pages 477-501, April.
    4. D. Paul Sullins, 2017. "Sample Errors Call Into Question Conclusions Regarding Same-Sex Married Parents: A Comment on “Family Structure and Child Health: Does the Sex Composition of Parents Matter?”," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(6), pages 2375-2383, December.
    5. Chen, Shuai, 2019. "Marriage, minorities, and mass movements," Other publications TiSEM 9cb1b11d-12e6-46a8-adca-4, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    6. Corinne Reczek & Russell Spiker & Hui Liu & Robert Crosnoe, 2017. "The Promise and Perils of Population Research on Same-Sex Families," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(6), pages 2385-2397, December.

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