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‘Marriage gap’ is a social justice issue, says CSJ report

The Centre for Social Justice has published a report looking at the importance of family structure. Family Structure Still Matters finds that married parents are twice as likely to stay together compared with cohabiting ones.

Marriage, says the report, has become a middle-class secret. Among high income couples (the top quintile) 83 per cent have tied the knot; among low-income parents (the bottom quintile) only 55 per cent are married.

The paper suggests that this "marriage gap" is a social justice issue for both same sex and opposite sex couples. According to the report, married parents are twice as likely to stay together as cohabiting ones. By the time they turn five, 53 per cent of children of cohabiting parents will have experienced their parents' separation; among five-year-olds with married parents, the figure is 15 per cent. The report argues that these differences matter because of the benefits of family stability on children's outcomes. It says that, even when allowance is made for income and education, children raised in unstable families suffer worse health, are more likely to be excluded, more likely to join a gang and end up as NEET.

For the report, click here.