There are some interesting statistics coming out of the U.S. which seem to indicate an end to years of marriage and family decline. The U.S. divorce rate has fallen for the third consecutive year to its lowest level in more than 35 years, according to data released on Thursday. Meanwhile, more people are getting married, indicating that after years of decline the numbers are stabilizing.
Earlier this month we wrote about the recent decrease in births outside of marriage in the U.S, also bucking a trend of years of increase. Family statistics just released from the U.S. Census Bureau show that the majority of America’s 73.7 million children under age 18 still live in families with two parents (69 percent). Of those, 47.7 million live with two married parents and 3.0 million live with two unmarried parents. The recent decrease in births outside marriage for the first time in years indicates that the majority of children will continue to live with two parents.
As an intact family has been shown to offer a myriad of benefits for adults and children, these statistics bode well for future American society. On average, children in intact families do better academically, exhibit fewer behavioural problems, and are more likely to form healthy romantic relationships as adults, meaning happier people and lower crime rates. No wonder the majority of Americans still consider a loving marriage of two parents the ideal environment in which to bring up their children.
The second most common family arrangement is children living with a single mother, at 23 percent. During the 1960-2016 period, the percentage of children living with only their mother nearly tripled from 8 to 23 percent and the percentage of children living with only their father increased from 1 to 4 percent. While this type of family arrangement has become significantly more common over the last few decades, has it reached its peak?
As a mother of two young preschoolers who is lucky enough to have a supportive husband, I certainly hope so for the sake of women and mothers. My hat goes off to single mothers and those who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in irregular family situations. It must be so much harder for both the parents and the children. Let’s hope these positive family statistics continue.
Shannon Roberts is co-editor of MercatorNet's blog on population issues, Demography is Destiny. While she has a background as a barrister, writing has been a life-long passion and she has contributed...
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