Study finds cohabitation not divorce is worse for family instability

It’s long been held that children of divorcing parents face a number of societal challenges, but children with unmarried parents who live with each other or other adults may also be at risk.

Research conducted by the Institute for American Values and the National Marriage Project found that children of cohabitating parents deserve the same concern as the children of divorce, because the study claims that these kids are also at risk for trouble in school, psychological stress, poverty and physical abuse.

The drama facing families today is less about divorcing spouses and more about unmarried parents, National Public Radio reports. The study found that by the time they are 12, 42 percent of children will have unmarried parents living together or with other adults, while 24 percent of children born to married parents will see them divorce or separate.

“We’re moving into a pattern where we’re seeing more instability, more adults moving in and out of the household in this relationship carousel,” Brad Wilcox, a co-author of the report and head of the National Marriage Project, explained to NPR.

The report studied more than 250 peer-reviewed journal articles and included additional scholarly analysis.