April 15, 2024

The Value Of A Two Parent Family

Value of Marriage Deemed Unimportant by Many

A federal study done by the National Center for Health Statistics revealed that 40% of all births in the US were to unmarried woman.   The number of births to unwed mothers has more than doubled from what it was in the 1980’s.

Washington Post –

“If you see 10 babies in the room, four them were born to women who were not married,” said Stephanie J. Ventura, who led the analysis of birth certificate data nationwide. “It’s been a huge increase — a dramatic increase. It’s quite striking.”

Although the report did not examine the reasons for the increase, Ventura and other experts said the trend has been driven by a combination of factors, including the lessening of the social stigma associated with unmarried motherhood, an increase in couples delaying or forgoing marriage, and growing numbers of financially independent women and older and single women who decide to have children on their own after delaying childbearing.

“It’s many factors,” Ventura said. “Certainly the social disapproval factor has diminished.

the trend is disturbing because studies have shown that children generally tend to fare better when they grow up in stable households with two parents.

“We know that babies and children do best with committed, stable adult parents — preferably married,” said Sarah Brown of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. “That tends to be the arrangement that produces the best outcome for children. I look at this and say, ‘Maybe this trend is what young adults want or stumble into, but it’s not in the best interest of children.'”

The rates increased for all races, but they remained highest and rose fastest for Hispanics and blacks. There were 106 births to every 1,000 unmarried Hispanic women, 72 per 1,000 blacks, 32 per 1,000 whites and 26 per 1,000 Asians, the report showed.

… the percentage of babies born to unmarried women is about 66 percent in Iceland, about 55 percent in Sweden, about 50 percent in France and about 44 percent in the United Kingdom.

In many of those countries couples are living together instead of getting married, which is also the case in the United States, Ventura noted. Previous research indicates about 40 percent of births to unmarried women occur in households where couples are cohabitating, she said.

Good Intentions vs Reality – The Risks of a One Parent Family

American society has dramatically changed its value structure from what it was a generation ago.   The above report on children born out of wedlock suggests that perhaps half of these children will have both parents raising them –  the parents simply chose not to be married.  The more important question is, for those born out of wedlock, and raised by only one parent, what is the long term impact on the children of being raised in a one parent family?  Since our children are the future of our Country, the question is important.  Some thoughts and studies on this matter for further consideration follow.


-Not all children living in one parent families will have lived with their absent parent. However, for those whose parents were living together there is now a large amount of research showing the effects of family breakdown on children.

The results of a survey based on pooled data from 80,000 adults suggest that parental divorce has an adverse effect on children’s lives Compared with those raised in intact two-parent families, adults who experienced a parental divorce had lower psychological well-being, more behavioural problems, less education, lower job status, a lower standard of living, lower marital satisfaction, a heightened risk of divorce, a heightened risk of being a single parent, and poorer physical health.

The view that children adapt readily to divorce and show no lingering negative consequences is clearly inconsistent with the cumulative research in this area.


-Single parent families are at a higher risk of poverty than couple families, and on average single mothers have poorer health than couple mothers.[2]

Single parenting is strongly associated with an increased risk of a number of negative social, behavioral and emotional outcomes for children. However while the association is strong, on balance the effect size and the actual numbers affected are modest. Most children from single parent families do well. Many factors influence how children develop in single-parent families: the parent’s age, education level, and occupation; the family’s income, and the family’s support network of friends and extended family members (including the non-resident parent, if available). Disadvantages in these factors that often accompany single parenting appear to cause most of this association rather than single parenting itself.[14] [15]

A variety of viewpoints do exist, with different readings of the research possible. The Institute for the Study of Civil Society reports that children of single parents, after controlling for other variables like family income, are more likely to have problems.[17] There are impacts of sole parenting on children, however the weight of the evidence does not appear to support a view that sole parents are a major cause of societal ills and are doing irreparable damage to their children.[15]

Having Both Parents Matters

The research and common sense tell us that it is better for a child to be raised in a two parent household.  The reasons are profound but all the research seems to lead to similar conclusions.


-The two categories that have seen the most dramatic rise over the period shown and the two that account for the rise in single-parent households are divorced parents (rising 422%) and those who have never married (rising 3,026%).

Many popular books like Barbara Dafoe Whitehead’s The Divorce Culture: Rethinking Our Commitments to Marriage and Family, present a stark picture of the negative impact that divorce has on the children in the families being separated. The question now being raised frequently is: “Should you stay together for the kids?”

Further fueling these discussions have been the sad results of several studies done on the outcomes of children raised in single-parent families. On average, the economic and social well-being of children being raised by a single parent was shown to be lower than that of children being raised in two-parent households. To many, these findings would seem self-evident. It is simply harder for one person to do the same work that two people working together are able to do.

The poverty rate for children living in single-parent homes is five times greater than for children living in two-parent homes. This fact has focused the political debate surrounding welfare reform squarely on the subject of marriage. In 1996, after many false starts, the Personal Responsibility Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) was signed into law. Under this law the focus of welfare shifted from cash assistance for women and their children to an emphasis on self-sufficiency through work and enhanced financial support and involvement by fathers. One clearly stated intention of this legislation is to reduce out-of-wedlock births and encourage the formation of two-parent families.

Our future is based on our children.  Depriving a child of two parents seems to be dimming the future for all of us.

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