LONDON, May 23, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Half of all British children born this year will be living with only one parent by the time they reach their teens, a study has revealed.
The study, titled “The myth of long-term stable relationships outside of marriage” undertaken by the Marriage Foundation, found that 45 percent of British teenagers between the ages of 13-15 are not living with both parents and that 9 out of 10 children born to unmarried, cohabiting “partners” will be living in single-parent households by their teens.
The study examined the differing rates of “family breakdown” experienced by married and cohabiting couples using data from the Understanding Society national longitudinal survey of 40,000 British households.
The numbers indicate that half of all cohabiting couples will break up within a year of moving in together. Nearly one-fifth (17 percent) of babies under a year old do not live with both natural parents, and that number jumps to 47 percent by the time the child is 15.
Significantly, the numbers are radically different for the children born within marriage: 93 percent of parents who stayed together were married before they had a child.
“The relative scarcity of ‘long-term stable relationships’ outside of marriage confirms that it is disingenuous and untenable for government to keep airbrushing marriage from family policy papers,” the study’s author, Harry Benson, said. “This should be an important issue for government since the direct costs of family breakdown are estimated at £46 billion,” more than the entire budget for national defense.
Benson, the founder and director of the relationship education charity Bristol Community Family Trust, takes the government to task for papering over the link between marital status and family breakdown, saying that in nearly all government reports “overlook, disregard, or dismiss [it] altogether whilst talking glowingly of so-called ‘long-term stable relationships.’”
“The key variable in calculating family stability over time becomes marital status at birth. Fewer married parents means fewer relatively stable couples,” he emphasized.
This comparison between cohabitating parents, married parents and especially those who married before having children is nothing new. There have been studies of this type done before, one in particular that I remember showing that most cohabitating parents will split up by their child's 15th birthday. I think this something to do with the lack of intention to have a long-term relationship that cohabitors have - it's more of a wait and see how it works out attitude - which is deadly to a relationship in the long-term.
What studies like this need to do in addition to what they've already differentiated on is to compare the outcomes of married parents who cohabited before marriage. For cohabitation harms the marriage when it does eventuate. It might just be a formalisation of the relationship already entered into which doesn't have a strong level of commitment. Trying before buying reduces the chances of success, despite the popular mantra.
Related link: 90 percent of unmarried couples with babies will break up by baby's teens: Study ~ LifeSiteNews