Divided Nation: The different futures for those who marry, or don’t

Overall, two thirds of women who get married and have children remain with the father for life. Among women who never marry, just one in ten will avoid splitting from their partner.

Far fewer 20 year olds are predicted to marry than the previous generation; only 52 per cent of 20 year olds compared to 68 per cent of 40 year olds.
Of the 48 per cent who will never marry, only 5 per cent will still be part of an intact couple by their child’s fifteenth birthday.
In comparison, of the 52 per cent of 20 year old women predicted to marry to some stage and have children, 34 per cent will still be married by their child’s mid-teens.
32 per cent of 40 year old women today will never marry; of these, only 3 per cent who have children will remain with the father until their child reaches fifteen.
In comparison, of the 68 per cent of 40 year old women who have married or will marry over the course of their lives, 45 per cent will stay with their child’s father.
A report from the think tank dedicated to building stronger families, The Marriage Foundation, has found a stark division between teenagers predicted to marry and those who will never tie the knot.

The huge variance in odds of family breakdown between married and unmarried is even clearer with the younger generation.

Far fewer 20 year olds are predicted to marry than the previous generation. Only 52 per cent of 20 year olds will marry compared to 68 per cent of 40 year olds.

This is despite the fact 75 per cent of teenagers want to get married at some stage.

Of the 52 per cent of 20 year old women predicted to at some stage marry and have children, 34 per cent will have avoided the breakup of their family by their child’s fifteenth birthday.

This compares starkly to only 5 per cent of the 48 per cent of 20 year olds who will never marry staying with their partners until their child hit their mid-teens.

Author of the Marriage Foundation report, Harry Benson, commented: “This is bleak news for the next generation. Despite the fact that the huge majority of teenagers want to get married, only half will do so.

“They themselves will miss out of the greater stability marriage provides, but the ramifications will be felt most by their own children, who face high odds of growing up without a mother or father at home.

“Single parents do an astonishing job, bringing up children single-handedly, but I think few people would choose this situation for themselves or suggest that it is easier for the children.

“Moreover the process of family breakdown is very damaging for all concerned. Children from broken families are more likely to be involved in truancy, juvenile delinquency, joblessness and depression.

“Currently family breakdown costs the Exchequer around £46 billion a year. That’s the equivalent to the entire defence budget. I don’t see how the country will afford the steep rise of this bill that this increase of broken families will bring over the next few years.”

The previous generation, now in their forties, were much more likely to get married. They have remained in an intact couple throughout their children’s adolescence in far greater numbers.

Of the 68 per cent of 40 year olds who have married or will marry at some stage, 45 per cent will still be married to the father when their child completes their GCSE exams.

For the 32 per cent of forty year old women who will never marry, only 3 per cent who have children will remain with the father until their child reaches fifteen.

Sir Paul Coleridge, Chairman of the Marriage Foundation commented: “I am profoundly saddened looking at these forecast outcomes for the next generation.

“Forty years spent working in the family courts has shown me the sheer pain and human suffering of family breakdown for everyone concerned – the children and parents obviously, but also aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends.

“I fear it will only get worse as fewer and fewer children will know what it is to have stable, married parents at home as they grow up. We are facing a crisis of confidence in the institution of marriage.

“We must do something to stem the tide of family breakdown. A boost to the currently pitiful married tax allowance in next month’s Autumn Statement would be a good start.”

Downloads

Here you can download the Research Briefing Paper as a PDF and the Press Release where it is available.

Media Links

Daily Mail, 18th November 2014
by James Bartholomew: “How the Welfare State wrecked marriage”

The Telegraph, 18th November 2014
by Andrew Lilico: “Why debt-fuelled spending on Christmas and weddings is humbug”

Marilyn Stowe Blog, 18th November 2014
“Will broken homes become the norm?”

The Telegraph, 17th November 2014
by John Bingham, Social Affairs Editor: “Young twice as likely to face family breakdown as parents’ generation”

Daily Mail, 17th November 2014
by Steve Doughty: “Only one in 20 unwed parents will stay together until their first-born is 15 and less than half of today’s 20-year-olds will marry”

The Marriage Foundation is registered as a charity in  England and Wales.

Registered charity number: 1150453

© Copyright Marriage Foundation. All rights reserved.

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