If you thought that San Francisco, New York City or Portland (Oregon or Maine) was where the highest percentage of same-sex couples are raising children, you thought wrong. While the liberal cities might be known for their strong gay culture, gay couples with kids are far more likely to head to much more affordable and unexpected places. Top of the list? Salt Lake City, Utah, where 25% of gay couples are also parents.
Though cities like New York and Los Angeles actually have a higher number of gay families, Salt Lake City has the highest percentage, followed by other unlikely contenders Virginia Beach, Detroit and Memphis.
As far as states go, Mississippi had the highest level of same sex couples raising kids with 26%.
According to Gary J. Gates, the researcher behind the data, one reason for the high rates of parenthood among Salt Lake City gay couples (and gay couples in other less populated, less liberal cities and regions) is that many of them originally had children with opposite sex partners, came out later in life and are now rearing their kids with a same sex partner.
Abbie Goldberg, an associate professor of psychology at Clark University in Massachusetts who has studied gay and lesbian parents in rural areas, has another take: "When you ask, 'Why are you living here?' they almost always say family. It shouldn't really be surprising. They value family — and now they're creating families of their own."
She's right. It shouldn't be surprising considering that families with same-sex parents are dealing with the exact same thing (and in places where they're not granted legal protection, even more) as families with opposite-sex parents — things like being close to grandparents, finding a good job and basic cost of living. It's cheaper to raise a family in literally anywhere that's not L.A., NYC or San Francisco, so naturally, that's where families, gay or straight, are heading to raise their kids. Whuddya know — normal people act normal.
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