UK Suffers from High Percentage of Family Breakdown, Says Study

A new survey of industrialized nations shows that the United Kingdom has one of the highest rates of family breakdown in the world.

The survey was carried out by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an international organization that aims to assist member nations dealing with economic and social challenges.

In the U.K., a mere 68.9 percent of children currently reside with both parents, which is much lower than the average of 84 percent in the 30 nations surveyed by OECD.

By comparison the country with the highest percentage of two parent families was Finland where 95.2 percent of children who live in two-parent households. In contrast, Latvia had the lowest percentage of two-parent homes with 64.9 percent.

"Timid politicians are becoming numb to Britain's sky-high family breakdown rates … behind too many front doors, family instability damages adults and children … yet, as these OECD figures show, broken families are not some inevitable feature of modern society or social progress." Christian Guy, of the Center for Social Justice, said in a statement.

"It is time for people who oppose things that would stem the tide of breakdown – such as backing marriage as the most stable path for children – to stop playing politics. Our forgotten families need all the help we can offer," Guy added.

While the breakdown of the traditional family structure is eroding the cultural and social fabric, it has wider consequences as well.

There are several studies that highlight the economic impact of single parent households with some analysts revealing that such a widespread breakdown of the traditional family structure costs the U.K. anywhere from $50-100 billion annually.

Officials reveal that the cost can be attributed to providing essential social services and policing, due to the increased risk of children from single-family homes being more likely to be involved in criminal activity.

"The latest UK data tells us that 450 of every 1,000 children will experience the break-up of their parents before their 16th birthday, largely the result of the trend away from marriage, in particular the collapse of unmarried families … convince politicians of all colors of their utter failure to deal with the central social problem of our times," Harry Benson, communications director for the Marriage Foundation, said in a statement.