CSJ: Never in Britain’s history has family breakdown hit such heights
19 Apr 2011 12:06 AM
Britain’s levels of births outside marriage are at the highest point for at least 200 years, according to a major new study of the history of the family from a leading think-tank.
Cohabitation levels have also soared from under 5% pre-1945 to 90% today.
The inquiry finds that births outside marriage were at low levels throughout the 19th Century and stayed flat until the 1960s. But since then they have soared, from a long-standing baseline of 5% to 45% today.
Research shows that children brought up by lone parents on average do much less well than those brought up by two parents. For instance, they are 75% more likely to fail at school and 50% more likely to have alcohol problems.
Separate studies have also shown that cohabiting couples with children are far less stable than married couples with children.
The latest report, published by the independent think-tank the Centre for Social Justice, refutes claims by some academics and campaigners that there is nothing new about contemporary levels of family breakdown.
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Full report: History and Family: Setting the Records Straight. A rebuttal to the British Academy pamphlet Happy families?