New study: cohabitating parents twice as likely to split up as married parents

SurveyMonkey election poll cross tabs for unmarried women Nov 2016
SurveyMonkey election poll cross tabs for unmarried women Nov 2016

This was reported by the Daily Signal.

It says:

Children born to unmarried, cohabiting parents—both in the United States and across Europe—are nearly twice as likely to see their parents split up, compared to children born to married parents.

A new study from the Institute for Family Studies and Social Trends Institute examines family stability among cohabiting and married-parent families from numerous countries across the world. The findings provide evidence against some common myths about cohabitation and children’s family stability.

One of these myths claims that cohabitation is less stable than marriage simply because low-income individuals are more likely to choose to cohabit. However, researchers find that in the majority of countries studied, cohabitation is less stable even among the highly educated.

The authors note, “In the overwhelming majority of countries, the most educated cohabiting parents still have a far higher rate of break-up than the lowest educated married couples.”

For example, in the United States, 49 percent of children born to highly-educated cohabiting mothers experienced at least one union disruption by age 12, compared to just 26 percent of children born to lower-educated married mothers. In the United Kingdom, the percentages are 53 percent and 39 percent, respectively.

A second common argument is that cohabitation becomes more stable (begins to look more like marriage) as it becomes more common in a society.

However, the findings did not support this notion. As the share of children born to cohabiting couples increased in a country, family instability also increased.

Laurie DeRose, one of the authors of the study, explains:

We find no evidence in this report to support the idea that as births to cohabiting parents become more common, as they have in the United States, marriage and cohabitation resemble each other in terms of stability for children. On average, marriage is associated with more family stability for children across the globe—even in countries where it is in retreat.

[…]A 2011 report from the Institute for American Values calls “the rise of cohabiting households with children … the largest unrecognized threat to the quality and stability of children’s family lives.”

Research shows that children in cohabiting households are more likely to be physically, sexually, and emotionally abused, and to be aggressive or display delinquent behaviors (such as substance abuse or committing property crime). They are also more likely to experience poverty and have poorer health.

It should be noted that Democrats favor policies that punish people who want to marriage, e.g. – no-fault divorce, marriage tax penalty, single mother welfare, etc.

Dennis Prager explains why the Democrats oppose marriage:

It takes a particularly noble Democrat to promote marriage and family. The strengthening of these institutions is not in the Democratic Party’s self-interest. The more people marry, and especially the more they have children after they marry, the more likely they are to hold conservative values and vote Republican.

That is why it is inaccurate to speak of a “gender gap” in Americans’ voting. The gap is between married and unmarried women. Single women, especially single women with children, tend to vote Democratic, while married women, especially married women with children, tend to vote Republican.

Why is this?

There are two primary reasons.

One is that women’s nature yearns for male protection. This is a heretical idea among the well educated whose education is largely devoted to denying the facts of life. But it is a fact of life that can easily be proven: Extremely wealthy women almost always seek to marry men who are even wealthier than they are.

[…]Given women’s primal desire to be protected, if a woman has no man to provide it, she will seek security elsewhere — and elsewhere today can only mean the government. In effect, the state becomes her husband. This phenomenon has frequently been commented on with regard to the breakdown of many black families. The welfare state simply rendered many black men unnecessary and therefore undesirable as spouses: Why marry when you can get more benefits from the state while remaining single (and get even more money if you have children while remaining single)?

Once a woman does marry, however, her need for the state not only diminishes, she now begins to view the state as inimical to her interests. For the married woman, especially if she has children, two primal urges work against her having a pro-big government attitude. Her urge to be protected, which is now fulfilled by her husband, and her primal urge to protect her nest are now endangered by the government, which as it grows, takes away more and more of her family’s money.

Once a woman marries and has children, therefore, her deepest desires — to be protected and to protect her family — work as strongly on behalf of conservative values and voting Republican as they did on behalf of liberalism and the Democratic Party when she was single.

The other reason married women are less likely to be liberal and vote Democratic relates to maturity and wisdom.

Just about everyone — a man as much as a woman — is rendered more mature and wiser after marrying. This is not an insult to singles. It was as true of me as of anyone else. If you’re single, ask any married person — happily or unhappily married — whether or not marriage has matured them.

The single biggest change induced by marriage is that you can no longer think only about yourself. “I” becomes “we.” Narcissism becomes far less possible in marriage than in the single state. And just as marriage decreases narcissism, it increases wisdom. Having to relate to another human being (especially of the opposite sex) to whom you have made a lifelong commitment (even if it ends in divorce) vastly increases your wisdom. And if you have children, your wisdom increases exponentially. Again, ask any parent if they are wiser since becoming a parent.

If you take a look at the map above, you’ll see that unmarried women vote overwhelmingly Democrat, because they want to be able to follow their hearts without having to be responsible about finding a husband and raising children. They vote for big government to make their self-centeredness “work out”. Why have a husband when you can get his money by taxing him? Single women think it’s better to tax a man and not have to respect him. That’s why they vote Democrat. And as taxes go higher and higher, what you’ll find is that many single men who might like to marry can no longer afford to marry – because they are paying for the upkeep of millions of single women already.

3 thoughts on “New study: cohabitating parents twice as likely to split up as married parents”

  1. We addressed this on our blog a few years ago. Many co-habitating couples break apart after having children. Often they delay child bearing until after having been together for several years. Then, when they encounter the stresses of child rearing, they leave. These individuals appear to be very risk adverse and to a point, self-centered. It is likely more difficult to raise children today compared to a few generations ago, but this cut and run approach indicates both lack of commitment and lack of maturity.


    1. Yes, risk averse with commitment doesn’t get solved by throwing needy children into the mix. What kind of woman chooses a man who isn’t interested in commitment, passing over men who have jobs and want to marry for fun and thrills? How is her choice of bad boy over good man good for her children?


  2. My senior pastor (who has the nickname of “Dr. Marriage” partially due to his doctoral thesis of studying marriage and family in the Old Testament, especially in view of Malachi and so on) talked a lot about the attitudes of those who co-habitate vs. those who commit to marriage:

    Co-habitating is somewhat likened to “Spring Training” in baseball, or “try before you buy.” It may even be rationalized that it is a step towards marriage. Unfortunately it’s not — clearly by the statistics. So you dig a little deeper: those who co-habitate are effectively saying, “Well, let’s try this ‘playing house thing’. If we don’t drive each other crazy, THEN maybe we’ll get married.” The focus isn’t on US or even self-denial for the other person.

    Marriage, on the other hand, requires people to (at least consider their vows of) self-denial and sacrifice and service. The attitude is more of “let’s commit to working this out and sticking together.”

    I can totally see why people co-habitate before marriage. My wife and I were seeing each other a bit on the long-distance side (1.5 hours away) and finally moved in just over two months after we got married. Yeah, a honeymoon caused a small delay. Moving in together simplified a lot of stuff. One set of bills (utilities, rent, cell phone, ISP, etc.) instead of two. We realized we only needed one car instead of two (ergo, one car payment, one insurance payment). Plus I can understand that people want more access for sexual gratification.

    I get that. Sure.

    This is also a short-term vs. long-term optimization. The short-term optimization is about lowering your expenses and sexual gratification.

    Of course many people (maybe Dunning-Kruger effect or some other cognitive bias) think they can beat the odds. There are people who regularly think “I only have a 3.0-3.5 GPA, I’m sure I could get accepted by super-elite colleges” or “I am somewhat above average basketball player, maybe I could eventually get to the NBA.”


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