Williams Institute Map

Williams Institute Map (Handout / May 21, 2013)

Same-sex couples in the Baltimore area are raising children at a higher rate than in most large metropolitan regions in the nation, according to a new study released by a think tank at the UCLA School of Law.

The study, released this week by the Williams Institute and based on data from the 2010 U.S. Census, found a full 20 percent of same-sex couples in the Baltimore region are raising kids.

Just five other population hubs nationwide had higher percentages.

Among the states, Maryland ranks 12th for the highest percentage of same-sex couples raising children, with more than 20 percent.

The study provides little analysis other than the rankings, but did find that the metropolitan centers with the highest percentages of same-sex couples raising kids were all in states that have constitutional bans on same-sex marriage.

Salt Lake City has the highest percentage, at 26 percent, among large metropolitan statistical areas, while Mississippi has the highest percentage, also at 26 percent, among states. Both Utah and Mississippi have constitutional bans on same-sex marriage.

Among metropolitan areas with fewer than 1 million people, the area with the highest percentage of same-sex couples raising kids was Grand Forks, N.D. -- again, a state with a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages -- at 65 percent, the study found.

Among states without bans, Maryland had the highest percentage of same-sex parenting couples, the study found.

In a statement, Angeliki Kastanis, a public policy research fellow at the Williams Institute, viewed the study's findings this way:

"Research consistently shows that same-sex couples raise children all across the country. This analysis underscores the fact that recognition of LGBT families is a consequential policy question in every state."

What's known as "Baltimore-Towson, MD" is Maryland's only statistical area with more than 1 million residents.

Other heavily-populated parts of the state are included in the "Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metro Area," in which 14 percent of same-sex couples are raising kids.

Smaller statistical areas in the state include Cumberland (10 percent); Hagerstown-Martinsburg (18 percent); and Salisbury (15 percent).

Interesting is that cities known for their big gay populations -- New York, San Francisco, Washington -- had lower percentages of couples with kids (all in the teens).

I figure that may have something to do with the average age of same-sex couples in those cities, but the study didn't parse such demographics.

Do these numbers surprise anyone? Do they raise other questions for you?