Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

New study finds that cohabitation damages children

Story here from the UK Daily Mail. (H/T Dina)

Excerpt:

The astonishing speed at which traditional family life has collapsed is laid bare today.

Shocking figures reveal that births outside marriage are at their highest level in two centuries and nearly half of children can expect their parents to separate by the time they turn 16.

Nine out of ten couples now live together before – or instead of – tying the knot. Before the Second World War, it was fewer than one in 30.

From a situation 30 years ago where it was often considered shameful to have a child outside of wedlock, it has now become the norm.

Some 46 per cent of children are born to unmarried mothers, according to research by the Centre for Social Justice.

The think-tank said a child growing up in a one-parent family is 75 per cent more likely to fail at school, 70 per cent more likely to become a drug addict, 50 per cent more likely to have an alcohol problem and 35 per cent more likely to be unemployed as an adult.

Some 48 per cent of children are likely to see their family break up before they are 16. Ten years ago, it was 40 per cent.

Gavin Poole, executive director of the CSJ, which was set up by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, said: ‘Current high levels of cohabitation are a key factor in the rise in family breakdown in our country and this paper shows that we have not been here before.

‘Marriage and commitment tend to stabilise and strengthen families and cannot be ignored. The peculiarly high levels of family breakdown found in Britain are at the heart of the social breakdown which is devastating our most deprived communities.

‘We cannot ignore the wealth of evidence showing that the family environment in which a child grows up is key in determining their future life outcomes.’

The report says the decline in the traditional family is a crucial factor in the social decay that is blighting Britain.

It finds that – at around 5 per cent – levels of births outside marriage were the same in the 1950s as in the 1750s.

They remained at low levels through the 19th century and stayed flat until the 1960s. But since then they have soared. By the late 1970s, 10 per cent of babies were born to single or unmarried parents, by 1991 it was 30 per cent and today it is 46 per cent.

The authors of the research point to evidence suggesting that in the 1950s and 1960s, only 1 to 3 per cent of couples cohabited before marriage.

Today, nearly 90 per cent of couples live together before, or instead of, getting married.

Family breakdown, the experts claim, is being fuelled by the growth in the less stable relationship of cohabitation. ‘A child growing up in a fractured, chaotic or fatherless family is far less likely to develop the pro-social skills essential for success later in life,’ Mr Poole said.

The thing to understand about the secular left in Britain is that they are not really against poverty – not if it means telling people to be more responsible and informed about abstinence, courting and marriage. They are willing to “fix” poverty by taking money from one group and giving it to another group. But they are not willing to prevent poverty by holding people accountable to moral standards. That would be so judgmental, divisive and offensive to poor people. And if there is one thing the secular left stands for, it’s not making people feel bad for their own decisions. The secular left would rather have adults doing whatever makes them feel good than to have children grow up healthy and happy in stable environments.

Marriage is the best way to prevent child poverty, so let’s have some policies that promote marriage and discourage cohabitation.

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5 Responses

  1. Mary says:

    Disturbing stats… Sad for the kids. :(

  2. I always find it amusing when it takes studies like this to tell us exactly what common sense tells us. This information is only new to those who lack common sense.

    • Studies are important for two reasons, even for those who agree. 1) studies help you to constrain your own behavior when you are tempted – knowledge makes the the right course of action seem obligatory, in a way that feelings, personal preferences and common sense do not. 2) liberals respect studies, but not what the bible says or opinions, so I have to have studies available to convince them of what they should already know if they were thinking rationally. Studies take the feelings and desires out of it.

    • Mara says:

      Yep. It’s kind of like that study that says alcoholism is bad for marriages, right Glenn?

      You look at, marvel at the money spent on the study and ask, “Ya think?!”

  3. [...] marriage is (afterall, laws shape what society values and doesn’t value). Not to mention the plethora of studies that are coming out about the benefits children have by enjoying the company of both their [...]

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