Children Born to Single Parent Households Becoming 'New Normal,' Says Study

A new study released is highlighting the danger of the continued decline in marriage coupled with the steady increase in children born out of wedlock contributing to a detrimental impact throughout American society.

The report, "State of our Unions: Marriage in America," was produced by the National Marriage Project and the Institute for American Values.

The authors stated they focused the report on "middle-America," a group classified as Americans who complete secondary education, but do not study in a higher educational setting. This one group encompasses nearly 60 percent of Americans.

The study showed that of the children that were born from adults representing "middle-America," 44 percent were born outside of marriage. That rate has been steadily increasing since the 1980s when the percentage of children born out of wedlock was only 13 percent.

This was only one of the statistics that showed the decline not only in marriage, but a decline in the importance; we collectively as a society, place on a child-centered family structure.

"Marriage in middle America is at a tipping point, with unwed childbearing threatening to become a new norm," Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, wrote in the study.

Research suggests the rise in cohabitating individuals has a direct correlation to the increase in children being born out of marriage as the attitude towards the role of marriage, as a structure for raising children has changed.

It was also revealed in the study that the educational level of individuals was related to the prevalence of cohabitation among those aged 25-44.

70 percent of high school dropouts were found to be cohabitating as compared with only 50 percent of college graduates. Cohabitating couples were also more likely to be from the lower bracket of economic placement.

"The retreat from marriage is both a cause and a consequence of increasing inequality in America," co-author David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values, stated in the study.

The authors of the report gave a bleak outlook for marriage in the future as the meaning of marriage among younger generations has changed from solely being used as a structure in which to raise children to that of an institution seen to be partially self-servant.

The authors have also called on our nation's leaders to head the warnings and urged them to recommit to the institution of marriage as a vehicle to support a secure and prosperous society.

"The president and all our nation's leaders must confront the marriage challenge in Middle America with the urgency and compassion it deserves," lead author Elizabeth Marquardt, director of the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values, wrote in the study.

The National Marriage Project is dedicated to conducting "research and analysis on the health of marriage in America, to analyze the social and cultural forces shaping contemporary marriage, and to identify strategies to increase marital quality and stability."

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