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NEW! Reality Shows Cohabitation is a 'Disaster' for Marriage

The Price is High for an American Anti-Marriage Culture

Costly Substitutes: The Price of Family Fragmentation

The Benefits of Marriage for African American Men…

REALITY SHOWS COHABITATION IS A DISASTER FOR MARRIAGE, BUT POLL SHOWS THE PUBLIC BELIEVES OTHERWISE. Despite increasingly high divorce rates, nearly half of the US public now clings to the belief that pre-marital cohabitation will make divorce less likely according to a recent national poll.

A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of 1,007 adults released for the weekend shows 49 percent believe living together reduces the chances of divorce. 13 percent said cohabitation makes no difference at all on marriage's success. Only 31 percent held the view that shacking up before marriage increases the risk of future divorce. 7 percent had no opinion…

Living together before marriage has skyrocketed since the 1960s, when Western cultures began to cast off traditional sexual mores; but the same period has seen a correlating upsurge of divorce.

The evidence has prompted a number of studies that have indicated that by trying to avoid divorce by cohabitation, unwed couples seriously compromise their marital success.

A 2006 report published in the journal Demography indicated one-half of all cohabiting unions collapse within a year and 90 percent within five years.

"The common view of cohabitation as a steppingstone to marriage needs to be seriously questioned," commented Daniel Lichter a professor of policy analysis at Cornell University and the study's lead researcher.
"Instead, serial cohabitation may be an emerging norm as cohabiting unions form and break up," he said. "If marriage promotion programs hope to target poor cohabiting women, our results seemingly suggest that the likelihood of success is not assured."
Most respondents also said they had little concern about the effect upon children of living in an unmarried cohabiting household. 47 percent insisted it makes no difference, and 12 percent believed there would be positive benefits.

However, the sentiments match up little with the reality that children suffer the brunt of collapsing marriages, and unmarried cohabitation creates an insecure situation for their development.
A study by the Vanier Institute of Family entitled "Cohabitation and Marriage: How Are They Related?" compiled results from hundreds of research papers that examined the social, emotional and financial effects of cohabitation and marriage on women, men, children and society.

Anne-Marie Ambert, the study's author, concluded that cohabitation is inherently unstable and carries a high cost on children's physical and psychological development.

Ambert noted, "Commitment and stability are at the core of children's needs; yet, in a great proportion of cohabitations, these two requirements are absent."

Related: Cohabitation Ends in Separation 90% of the Time

Living Together Before Marriage Has Disastrous Results Study Finds

Cohabitation is bad for men, worse for women, and horrible for children
Ten Facts reveal it is a deadly toxin to marriage, family, and culture
[1 August 2008,  Peter J. Smith,]  




According to an April 15 report, taxpayers pay at least $112 billion every year in programs such as welfare, criminal justice, and education efforts in an attempt to compensate for the damage done to families by divorce and unwed childbearing.

“This study documents for the first time, that divorce and unwed childbearing—besides being bad for children—are also costing taxpayers a ton of money,” said David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values.

“Even a…1 percent reduction in rates of family fragmentation would save taxpayers $1.1 billion.”

(Source: “Marriage Breakdown Costs Taxpayers at Least $112 Billion a Year,” Press Release,; Abstinence Clearinghouse, 22Apr08)

Further commentary on the above study: “Costly Substitutes: The Price of Family Fragmentation,”


Costly Substitutes: The Price of Family Fragmentation
By Chuck Colson
The Institute for American Values and the Georgia Family Council have just released a sobering study titled “The Taxpayer Cost of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing.” The study notes that while the debate on marriage usually focuses on its social, moral, and religious qualities, marriage is also an “economic institution.” It is a “powerful creator of human and social capital.”

In other words, healthy marriages produce the kind of people who are better able to take care of themselves and their families.

Unfortunately, as the report documents, there are fewer healthy marriages in America now than there were 25 years ago. Between 1970 and 2005, the percentage of children being raised in two-parent families dropped from 85 to 68 percent.

The principal causes of this drop were the high divorce rate and the increase in the number of out-of-wedlock births. While the number of divorces has declined slightly in recent years, the percentage of children born to unmarried mothers has continued to grow.

As I said earlier, the costs of this family fragmentation are not limited to the children. As one expert wrote, “Divorce and unwed childbearing create substantial public costs, paid by taxpayers.”

How much? A minimum of $112 billion a year. That is more than a $1 trillion a decade in “increased taxpayer expenditures for antipoverty, criminal justice . . . education programs,” and lost tax revenues.

What is more, the “human and social capital” lost from family fragmentation has an economic impact that goes far beyond government expenditures.

Even if you set aside the social, cultural, and moral dimensions of marriage, it is clear that government has a vital interest in promoting healthy marriages. Even modest increases in the number of “stable marriages” could save taxpayers a lot of money.

Thus, the report recommends increased spending on “marriage-strengthening” programs, like the marriage-skills classes offered by the state of Oklahoma.

[Most] would agree that the most important thing government can do to fight family fragmentation is to stop promoting marriag

e substitutes.

What I told “BreakPoint” listeners about Britain yesterday is also true of the United States. In both instances, a decline in marriage and an increase in family fragmentation coincided with the introduction of legally sanctioned Substitutes for traditional marriage (like civil unions and, now, same-sex marriages).

These substitutes have been called “dangerous and counterproductive as they inevitably weaken and destabilize the legitimate family based on matrimony.”

Even the best “marriage-strengthening” program can not compete with the message “marriage doesn’t matter.”

That is why, if you want to make a dent in the social and economic costs of family fragmentation, the first order of business is to promote and strengthen traditional marriage and accept no substitutes!

Related: Find out how much divorce and unwed childbearing cost the taxpayer at American Values —

Read more information on the Institute for American Values and the Georgia Family Council study on “The Taxpayer Cost of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing,” including press release, full report, executive summary, fact sheet, frequently asked questions, and panelists. (Video soon to be available).



THE BENEFITS OF MARRIAGE FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN. Currently, many policymakers and civic leaders are interested in developing strategies to improve the well-being of African American men, and to close the achievement gap between black men and other groups.

This brief surveys the research on the effects of family structure on African American men and finds overwhelming evidence that getting and staying married has a significant beneficial effect on black men’s well-being.

Married black men have higher incomes and are less likely to experience poverty. They enjoy better physical and mental health than their unmarried counterparts, and are less likely to engage in unhealthy or antisocial behavior.

Moreover, the benefits of marriage are transmitted from married parents to their sons, and these boys do better in life from childhood into adulthood.

(Source: Center for Marriage and Families,; Abstinence Clearinghouse, 27May08)