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Cohabitation fails to offer stable home for children, claims Marriage Foundation report

'Of parents who remain together, over 90 per cent are married’

The Marriage Foundation has published a report citing evidence which it claims shows that couples who do not marry rarely offer a secure and stable home for their children.

The myth of 'long term stable relationships' outside marriage, written by Harry Benson, Director of Communications at the Foundation, says that 45 per cent of teenagers, aged 13-15, are no longer living with both their parents. It also predicts that of the 47 per cent of children born to unmarried parents today, 11 per cent will reach the age of 16 with unmarried parents still together. The remainder will either marry or split up. Those who remain unmarried and intact, it says, are a small minority.

The study is based on new findings from Understanding Society, a large longitudinal survey of 40,000 households between 2010 and 2011, the Census from 2001 and birth rate data from the Office for National Statistics. Mr Benson concludes that the trend away from marriage is the main driver of rising family breakdown.

Findings include:

The report expresses concerns that the Government has ignored the strong correlation between marital status and family breakdown and focused instead on "long term stable relationships" when developing family policy papers.

Harry Benson said:

"With family breakdown costing an estimated £46 billion a year, in addition to the immeasurable social damage, it is clearly in the interest of government and the taxpayer to work to counter this devastating trend.

"Despite the evidence behind the stability of marriage, the Government seems fixed on airbrushing marriage from family policy papers."

The report can be read here.