In an article entitled "Children of unmarried couples 'twice as likely to grow up in a broken home'" for The Independent, Kate Watson-Smyth reports:
Children born to unmarried couples are twice as likely to end up in broken homes as those whose parents are married, the first continuous survey of family life revealed yesterday.Notice that the study was carried out by a non-religious organization.
The findings from the Institute for Social and Economic Research (Inser), at the University of Essex, disprove many couples' theory that they don't need a marriage certificate to prove their commitment to each other, and will boost the Government's attempts to promote marriage over other forms of family life.
Seventy per cent of children born in marriage will spend the first 16 years of their lives with both natural parents but only 36 per cent of those born to cohabiting couples will do the same, researchers found.
John Ermisch of the University of Essex, who led the study, said: "The temporary nature of many cohabiting relationships means such relationships should not be considered simply as 'marriage without the vows'. They are a new and relatively unstable family structure, which is leading to a dramatic increase in childbearing outside marriage and significant growth in the time children spend living in one-parent families."The numbers are not good. Even deciding to marry is not without its risks, especially when the couple has been living together. See my previous here.
The analysis of the same 10,000 adults in 5,500 households over a seven-year period found that cohabitation rarely turns out to be long term. Fewer than 20 per cent of couples stay together for more than five years and fewer than 10 per cent survive 10 or more years. Many last only two years on average before deciding to marry or separate.
Some other interesting findings:
once a cohabiting couple has had children they are just as likely to split up as a childless couple and the chances of them getting married after having a baby are reduced by 60 per cent.A scary statistic, especially for those unfortunate babies.
Quoting Richard Berthoud, a research professor at the Inser:
"One of the main things this has shown is that people assume cohabiting is as stable as marriage but the figures prove that that is not so," he said.
"Once children are involved the probability of splitting up is twice as high and that would suggest that cohabiting is not the same as a married relationship. There is no doubt that cohabitation is much more flexible than marriage, whatever the couples involved may say."