Most children in America still live in a traditional family, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Wednesday.
Of the nation's 73 million children, 6 in 10 lived with both their biological parents, most of whom are married. About 7 in 10 children lived with two parents and two-thirds lived with married parents, according to latest report, based on 2004 surveys.
Still, 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 lived with only one parent, with the majority (78.7 percent) residing with their unmarried, biological mother.
The analysis was an encouraging report for pro-family groups, which have been battling to preserve families where children are raised in two-parent homes.
"People realize the value of giving kids a mother and a father," Glenn Stanton, director of global family formation studies at Focus on the Family, told Citizen Link. "We need to understand that that is the norm, that it's the overwhelming majority and not the minority.
"That should give great encouragement to the majority of people out there that are trying to make their marriages work and their parenting relationships work."
Still, nearly 4 percent of children lived with no parents. Half of these children, though, were living with their grandparents.
Percentages of children living in two-parent homes varied among different racial groups.
Only 38 percent of black children lived with both parents, a much lower proportion than white non-Hispanic (78 percent), Asian (87 percent), and Hispanic (68 percent) children.
For Hispanic children, the report infers that immigration among Hispanics may affect what kind of home they grow up in. It is suggested that families who provide housing for their immigrant relatives and friends would affect the data.
The report "Living Arrangements of Children: 2004" also shows that around 3.7 million children are living in cohabiting families, with one biological parent and an unmarried partner.
The percentages of white non-Hispanic children (5 percent) and Hispanic children who lived with a cohabiting parent were not statistically different from the percentage of black children (6 percent) who lived with a cohabiting parent, according to the report.
Jenny Tyree, associate marriage analyst for Focus on the Family Action, told Citizen Link that the number of children living in cohabiting families was disheartening.
"Research continues to show that these children have poorer emotional health and are at higher risk to suffer abuse than their peers in married families," she said.
"Marriage continues to be one of the greatest gifts a parent can give a child."
Data was collected from June 2004 through September 2004 in the Survey of Income and Program Participation.
Parents are defined in this report as a mother or father of the child who may be married or unmarried, biological, step, or adoptive.