Percentage of Children Living with 2 Parents Reaches Highest Level in Decades: Report
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A new report reveals that the share of American children living with two parents has reached its highest level in decades despite predictions that the percentage of children residing in two-parent households would continue to decline. 

The Institute for Family Studies, which describes its purpose as “to strengthen marriage and family life, and advance the well-being of children through research and public education,” published a report titled “The Resurgence of the Two-Parent Family” last Wednesday.

Authored by senior fellow of the Institute for Family Studies and research psychologist Nicholas Zill, the research provides data from the United States Census Bureau about the “proportion of children under 18 living with two parents, single parent & neither parent” dating back to 1960. 

While 87.7% of children younger than 18 lived with two parents in 1960, that figure had dropped to 67.3% by 2005. The percentage of children living with two parents in 2023 was measured at 71.1%, the highest share since 1990.

Meanwhile, 25.1% of children younger than 18 lived with a single parent in 2023, while the remaining 3.8% resided with neither parent. Additional data in the report broke down the family situations of American children even further.

According to U.S. Census Bureau data from 2022, 60% of American children lived with married birth parents. Single-parent households were the second most common living arrangement for children under 18, with 26% of American youth residing with just one of their birth parents. Nearly one-quarter of children under 18 (21.5%) lived with just their mothers, while a significantly smaller share of youth living with a single parent (4.6%) resided with only their fathers. 

The remaining types of family structures for American children were households featuring a married birth and stepparent (5%), cohabiting birth or step parents (5%), grandparents or other relatives (3%) and foster parents or other guardians (1%). 

Additionally, statistics in the report showed that younger children were more likely to live with their married birth parents than their older counterparts in 2022. Among children between the ages of 15 and 17, 53.6% lived with both of their married birth parents. That figure rises to 59.6% among minors between the ages of 6 and 14, and increases further to 64.9% among children 5 years old and younger.

Broken down by race, Asians had the highest percentage of children living with their married birth parents (81%) in 2022, followed by whites (70%), Hispanics (55%), multiracial children (51%) and blacks (33%). The research also showed that the overwhelming majority of children born to a college-educated mother (82%) lived with both of their married birth parents compared to just 54% of children whose mother did not have a college degree.

Analyzing the results, Zill commented that “the trends reviewed here show us that those who predicted a relentless increase in family instability or single parenthood were simply wrong.” According to Zill, “There seem to be growing numbers of young adults in all racial and ethnic groups who realize the economic, educational, and emotional benefits of marriage for themselves and their future children. As parenthood becomes more selective, the marriage-minded may have an advantage in childbearing.” 

“Two developments that promise to extend the resurgence of the traditional family are the older ages at which adults embark on parenthood nowadays and the increased numbers of recent immigrants in the U.S. population,” he concluded. “Women and men who begin having children in their 30s and 40s are more likely to marry beforehand and stay married. Likewise, recent immigrants have shown a propensity to marry before having kids and then to remain married.”

A previous study conducted by the Institute For Family Studies in 2022 elaborated on the relationship between children growing up with two married parents and their achievement of academic success. The earlier report, compiled based on data from 2019, determined that children who did not grow up with both married parents were 2.18 times more likely to have their school contact their parents about the child’s behavior than those who did. 

Similarly, the study found that children who did not grow up with their married birth parents were 1.63 times more likely to have their school contact their parents about their schoolwork than their peers who grew up with their married biological parents. Students from non-intact families were also 2.92 times more likely to get suspended and 2.01 times more likely to end up repeating a grade.

“These results reaffirm the conclusion that children from stable, married families have a better chance of receiving the guidance and support they need to succeed academically and adapt confidently to the classroom environment than children from disrupted or reconstituted families,” the previous report stated. “This does not mean that children from non-traditional families cannot do well in school. Many do, despite the conflict, turmoil, or curtailed parenting they may experience at home.”

By Ryan Foley, Christian Post Reporter 

Originally published on The Christian Post
(c) The Christian Post, used with permission

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