It’s become a commonplace on Capitol Hill and elsewhere that an unmarried man and a woman living together “can raise kids just as well as married couples.”
But that’s not what social science data shows, according to Francie Broghammer of the Institute for Family Studies (IFS). Broghammer summarizes what the data shows thusly:
“Cohabiting parents tend to be younger, have lower levels of educational attainment, and face more economic instability. (For reference, 54% of cohabiting parents have a high school diploma or less, and 16% live below the poverty line.
“In contrast, 43% of married parents have a bachelor’s degree or greater, and only 8% live below the poverty line). This naturally means there are fewer social and economic resources available to both cohabiting parents and their children.
“Furthermore, children of cohabiting parents are more likely to experience depression, drug abuse, and drop out of school, compared to children of married parents. These ‘risk factors’ all place strain on the family and increase the likelihood that children will experience negative social, emotional, and psychological outcomes.”
Why should folks working for a senator, representative or congressional committee care about these realities? First, because such jobs may well put you in a position to do something about them.
Second, because men and women working on the Hill do now already or eventually will have families of their own for which they naturally want the best possible outcomes.
Finally, as Broghammer explains, “by accepting the notion that ‘couples who are living together but not married can raise children just as well as married couples,’ Americans may be embracing a family model that will deepen the economic, racial, and social inequalities of our country.”
Go here to read the rest of Broghammer’s thought-provoking analysis.