Monday, April 18, 2011

The collapse of family life: Half of children see parents split by 16 as births outside marriage hit highest level for two centuries - 18th Apr 2011

The astonishing speed at which traditional family life has collapsed is laid bare today.

Shocking figures reveal that births outside marriage are at their highest level in two centuries and nearly half of children can expect their parents to separate by the time they turn 16.

Nine out of ten couples now live together before – or instead of – tying the knot. Before the Second World War, it was fewer than one in 30.

From a situation 30 years ago where it was often considered shameful to have a child outside of wedlock, it has now become the norm.

Some 46 per cent of children are born to unmarried mothers, according to research by the Centre for Social Justice.

The think-tank said a child growing up in a one-parent family is 75 per cent more likely to fail at school, 70 per cent more likely to become a drug addict, 50 per cent more likely to have an alcohol problem and 35 per cent more likely to be unemployed as an adult.

Some 48 per cent of children are likely to see their family break up before they are 16. Ten years ago, it was 40 per cent.

Gavin Poole, executive director of the CSJ, which was set up by Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, said: ‘Current high levels of cohabitation are a key factor in the rise in family breakdown in our country and this paper shows that we have not been here before. Read More