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Marriage is good news for children, says Marriage Foundation

The Marriage Foundation has disputed a claim made by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) that there is no evidence that married parents provide a better environment for children’s development than cohabiting couples.

According to the Marriage Foundation, the IFS has suggested the gaps in cognitive and socio-emotional development between children born to married parents and those born to cohabiting parents reflect the fact that different types of people choose to get married, rather than that marriage has an effect on relationship stability or child development.

Couples who chose to get married tend to be in a higher income bracket and to have had a higher standard of education. Those background factors, IFS claims, are what determine the stability of the relationship, not the decisions the couple actively make together, such as whether or not to marry.

Harry Benson of The Marriage Foundation, who has conducted similar research, said, “IFS have completely misconstrued their own evidence.

“The case for marriage has never rested on whether married couples make better parents than unmarried couples. The finding that couples tend to do equally well is a non-finding. What really matters is whether couples stay together as a couple. And it is here that IFS have got it so wrong.

“Of course marriage is not a panacea; not every marriage lasts, but a married couple have statistically a greater chance of remaining intact than a cohabiting couple.

“Our previous research has shown that 93% of couples who remain together until their children are in their mid-teens are married. Just 18% of all couples with children aged 0-15 years old are still together but unmarried.”

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