Having married parents boosts teen self-esteem

This article was first published by the Institute for Family Studies For years now, the popular consensus in the UK has been that it’s not marriage that matters to kids; it’s whether their parents stay together that counts. The government-sponsored Families and Children Study illustrates this beautifully. This annual report shows how children in two parent…

Do marriage and cohabitation change people?

It’s the sort of dismissive comment I hear often. “Correlation does not imply causation. Yes, married families tend to do better. But it’s not marriage that makes the difference but the kind of people who marry.” Let’s leave aside the flaws in the logic, that correlation does not rule out causation, that couples who do…

The next battle for marriage

Few people today will disagree with the statement that, on the whole, married families tend to do better. They are more likely to stay together, more likely to be happy, less likely to receive housing benefit or live in poverty, more likely to have children who do better at school and have fewer problems with…

Mums and dads not required. What?!

Sometimes you read something that is so ridiculous that you can’t quite work out how to respond. It’s taken me ten days since I was invited to comment on a story that was written up in the Independent. According to a new book by Cambridge professor, Susan Golombok – best known for her studies on same sex…

Get married before you have a child: The hard evidence

Ever since the cohabitation boom took off in the 1980s, people have become a lot more relaxed about whether or not it is best to marry before having children. In 1989, three quarters of the British public said people who want children should get married. By 2012, this had dropped to less than half. Our…

Mockery of marriage: When ideology trumps evidence

Last week, I went to a one day conference in London hosted and run by the very excellent Centre for Population Studies. Given that the subject matter was ‘Cohabitation‘, there was a number of fascinating presentations that explored the development of cohabitation across Europe, its different meanings for different people, different characteristics and outcomes between cohabiting…

Stay married longer, pay less tax. Good idea?

The evening debate had just finished when the Sunday Times social affairs editor walked up to me. “OK Harry, let’s see if you’d make a good journalist. Did you spot the story?” I had. Alas, so did the Times, Telegraph and Mail correspondents in the room, all of whom filed the story for their Saturday…