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A report published this month by the Marriage Foundation states that couples who don’t marry when they become parents are often more likely to offer a stable home.

The study is based on new findings from Understanding Society and concludes that the trend away from marriage is the main driver of rising family breakdown. Key findings include:

  • 45 per cent of young teenagers (aged 13-15 years old) are not living with both parents
  • Half of all family breakdowns takes place during the first two years
  • Amongst parents who remain intact, 93 per cent are married.

In sharp contrast, of the 47 per cent of children born to unmarried parents today, the report predicts that just 11 per cent will reach the age of 16 with unmarried parents still together. The remainder will either marry or split up. Those who remain unmarried and intact are a small minority.

With family breakdown costing an estimated £46 billion a year – that’s to say, more than the entire defence budget – in addition to the immeasurable social damage, it is clearly in the interest of government and the taxpayer to work to counter this devastating trend.

The report expresses concerns that the Government has ignored the strong correlation between marital status and family breakdown and focused instead on "long term stable relationships" when developing family policy papers.

The full report can be read here.

By Claire Clark on 3 Jun 2013, 15:57 PM

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