Concern at Rising Births Outside of Marriage

Family First NZ says that latest statistics showing that the number of babies born out of wedlock last year was almost equal to the number born within marriage is alarming and requires urgent and honest debate around the benefits of marriage.

“It is time that government policies and rhetoric acknowledged that there is a difference in terms of the psychological, social, economical and health outcomes between marriage and other forms of relationship,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“Family breakdown and decreasing marriage rates are seldom considered in debate on social policy issues, such as poverty among families with children, despite the rate of poverty being five times higher for sole parent families.”

“Cohabitation is not the functional equivalent of marriage. A Christchurch Child Development Study found that cohabitation is a foremost risk factor for breakdown of the child’s family in its first five years. 43.9 percent of de facto couples separated, compared to 10.9 percent of the married. A UK Millennium Cohort Study found that unmarried parents are up to five times more likely to experience family breakdown, and an Australian study found that
premarital cohabitation, as well as premarital childbearing, significantly increase the odds of marital breakup.”

“Whenever marriage is promoted, it has often been labeled as an attack on solo or divorced parents, and that has kept us from recognizing the qualitative benefits of marriage which have been discovered from decades of research.”

“Marriage has been impacted over the past decades by an increased level and acceptance of divorce, cohabiting, and unwed childbearing. NZ has a high teenage birth rate, and sole parents with dependent children made up 30 percent of families with children.”

“Yet in virtually every category that social science has measured, children and adults do better when parents get married and stay married – provided there is no presence of high conflict or violence.”

“Domestic violence and child abuse is far more prevalent in families where the biological parents are not both present and married.”

“Marriage is like a ‘life quality’ insurance policy for children and parents and it’s time we were honest enough to admit that,’ says Mr McCoskrie.

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