Yet another research study published recently showed marriage was superior to cohabitation for providing family stability across the demographic spectrum.
The study, “The Cohabitation-Go-Around: Cohabitation and Family Instability Across the Globe,” published by the Social Trends Institute and the Institute for Family Studies, found marriage provided significantly more stability for children than cohabiting, regardless of education level or geography.
Cohabiting parents split up twice as often as married parents, according to the data. And children who experienced their parents’ breakups and then additional family transitions also reported more unhappiness, school disruptions, and teen pregnancies.
“Our results suggest that there is something about marriage per se that bolsters stability,” wrote Bradford Wilcox and Laurie DeRose, the study’s authors. They suggested it could come from the wedding, the societal norms of “commitment, fidelity, and permanence” tied to marriage, the distinct treatment by family and friends of a married couple, or, likely, all three.
“By contrast, the very freedom and flexibility that makes cohabitation so attractive to some adults means that cohabitation is per se less institutionalized and therefore less stable,” Wilcox and DeRose wrote.
The study found the “stability premium” held among highly educated families, a population some experts said best maintains stable cohabitation. Nearly half of cohabiting, college-educated mothers broke up with their partners before their child turned 12, compared to less than one-fifth of college-educated, married mothers.
“So much for the argument that it is education, not marriage, that matters for family stability,” wrote Wilcox and DeRose.
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SOURCE: WORLD News Service