Released today by a group of 18 family scholars, Why Marriage Matters powerfully summarizes major new findings from the social sciences on the state of marriage and family life in the U.S. While divorce rates for families with children have fallen, family instability continues to increase for the nation's children overall, mainly because more than 40 percent of American children will now spend time in a cohabiting household.
NEW YORK, Aug. 16, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, the Center for Marriage and Families released Why Marriage Matters: Thirty Conclusions from the Social Sciences, a scholarly report that includes major new findings on the impact of cohabitation and divorce on children and families. This third edition of Why Marriage Matters is co-sponsored by the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values and the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. Chaired by Professor W. Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia, the report is co-authored by eighteen family scholars from leading institutions including the University of California at Berkeley, Brookings Institution, University of Chicago, Penn State, University of Minnesota, University of Texas at Austin, Urban Institute, and the University of Virginia.
For most of the latter-half of the twentieth century, divorce posed the greatest threat to child well-being and the institution of marriage. Today, that is not the case. New research—made available for the first time in Why Marriage Matters—shows that the rise of cohabiting households with children is the largest unrecognized threat to the quality and stability of children's lives in today's families.
According to W. Bradford Wilcox, lead author of the report, "In a striking turn of events, the divorce rate for married couples with children has returned almost to the levels we saw before the divorce revolution kicked in during the 1970s. Nevertheless, family instability is on the rise for American children as a whole. This is mainly because more couples are having children in cohabiting unions, which are very unstable. This report also indicates that children in cohabiting households are more likely to suffer from a range of emotional and social problems—drug use, depression, and dropping out of high school—compared to children in intact, married families."
Major findings of the report include:
Based on the new data now available, the authors of Why Marriage Matters offer three conclusions regarding marriage and families in America today:
THE REPORT surveys more than 250 peer-reviewed journal articles on marriage and family life in the United States and around the world, and also contains original analysis of data from the General Social Survey and the Survey of Income and Program Participation.
THE NATIONAL MARRIAGE PROJECT, founded in 1997 at Rutgers University, is a nonpartisan, nonsectarian, and interdisciplinary initiative now located at the University of Virginia. The Project's mission is to provide research and analysis on the health of marriage in America, to analyze the social and cultural forces shaping contemporary marriage, and to identify strategies to increase marital quality and stability. Directed by W. Bradford Wilcox, a professor of sociology at the university, its publications include the annual "State of Our Unions" report.
THE CENTER FOR MARRIAGE AND FAMILIES is located at the Institute for American Values, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to strengthening families and civil society in the U.S. and the world. Directed by Elizabeth Marquardt, the Center's mission is to increase the proportion of U.S. children growing up with their two married parents. At the Center's website, FamilyScholars.org, bloggers include emerging voices and senior scholars with distinctive expertise and points of view tackling today's key debates on the family.
For more information about this report, or to schedule an interview
with W. Bradford Wilcox, please contact David Lapp
at 212-246-8927 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Lapp 212.246.8927
Institute for American Values
New York, New York, UNITED STATES
David Lapp 212.246.8927
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