How Many Children Have Gay Parents in the US?

A gay couple walking with their son.
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Question: How Many Children Have Gay Parents in the US?

The actual number of children being raised by gay or lesbian parents is tough to estimate as many LGBTQ people keep their sexual orientation a secret to avoid harassment. But an article by the Child Welfare League of America states the following research, "A 1995 National Health and Social Life Survey by E.O. Lauman found that up to nine million children in America have gay or lesbian parents (Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, 2002)."

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Answer: (Scroll down for more information on gay adoption.)

History of Lesbian and Gay Parents by the Numbers

There were an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 gay and lesbian biological parents in 1976. In 1990, an estimated 6 to 14 million children have gay or lesbian parents.

Latest statistics from the U.S. Census 2000, the National Survey of Family Growth (2002), and the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (2004) include:

  • An estimated two million GLB people are interested in adopting.
  • An estimated 65,500 adopted children are living with a lesbian or gay parent.
  • More than 16,000 adopted children are living with lesbian and gay parents in California, the highest number among the states.
  • Gay and lesbian parents are raising four percent of all adopted children in the United States.
  • Adopted children with same-sex parents are younger and more likely to be foreign born.