RUTGERS, N.J. – A recent study by Rutgers University entitled “The Social Health of Marriage in America” showed a decline of attention to children in marriage. According to the study, Americans value marriage more for romance than child-rearing, causing children to lose the stability and security they need in the family.
The international report, part of an annual initiative by the National Marriage Project 70 percent of Americans disagreed with the statement that "the main purpose of marriage is having children," while 51 percent of Norwegians and 45 percent of Italians said the same. The number reached to 80 percent among Americans ages 20-29.
"Though most adults continue to prize marriage and to seek it for themselves, children are less able to count on their parents' marriage as the secure foundation for their family lives," the report said.
Such a dichotomy between adult desires for privacy and the children’s needs for attention may cause discord between the parent and children, the report stated. These value systems contribute to the weakening of marriage as whole, and permanent social risks for the children, according to the report.
The study showed an estimated 40 percent of children today will live in a cohabiting household sometime during their developing years, the Rutgers study said. Since 1960, the number of cohabiting couples with children increased almost nine fold, and roughly half of unmarried women aged 25-29 have lived with or are currently living with a partner.
"The belief is that living together before marriage is a useful way to 'find out whether you really get along,'" the report said. "In fact, a substantial body of evidence indicates that those who live together before marriage are more likely to break up after marriage."
Conclusively, the researchers showed statistically that homes with two married parents provide the best environment for children.
David Popenoe, co-director of the project stated, David Popenoe, co-director of the project, said "If you look at studies and compare child outcomes from a single-parent family to those with a two-parent family, the children in the second group have lower levels of emotional distress and anxiety.”