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Same-sex couples in South most likely to have kids

U.S. Census Bureau data show there are more same-sex couples rearing children in the South than in other regions of the country. In fact, Jacksonville, Fla., is home to one of the biggest populations of gay parents in the country.

About 32 percent of gay couples in Jacksonville are raising children, second only to San Antonio, where the rate is about 34 percent.

Using data from a Census Bureau sampling known as the American Community Survey, Gary Gates, a demographer at UCLA, also discovered that black or Latino gay couples are twice as likely as whites to be raising children. These couples are more likely than their white counterparts to be struggling economically.

This pattern defies the stereotype of a mainstream gay America that is white, affluent, urban and living in the Northeast or on the West Coast, the New York Times reported.

“We’re starting to see that the gay community is very diverse,” said Bob Witeck, chief executive of Witeck-Combs Communications, which helped market the census to gay people. “We’re not all rich white guys.”

Overall, about a third of lesbians are parents, and a fifth of gay men have kids. Advocacy groups argue that the children of same-sex couples are among society’s most vulnerable, because they have fewer legal protections and less health insurance than the children of heterosexual parents.

In 2009, the Census Bureau estimated that there were 581,000 same-sex couples in the United States. The bureau does not count gay singles.