The Telegraph 9 March 2015
Couples who get married before having children are more than 70 per cent more likely to stay together than those who do so after, new research claims.
Meanwhile those who start a family but never marry are almost three times as likely to split up before their children are in their mid-teens, the study by the Marriage Foundation think-tank concludes.
It claims that other factors often linked to family stability, such as parents’ ages when they have children or their level of education, have only a “marginal”, if any, effect on their chances of staying together.
Sir Paul Coleridge, the former High Court family judge who set up the foundation in 2012, said the study showed that it is a “myth” that cohabitation is as stable as marriage.
The group is pressing for political parties to adopt policies specifically promoting marriage in their manifestos ahead of the General Election in May.
The study is based on analysis by Professor Stephen McKay of Lincoln University of data from Understanding Society, the research project tracking changes in tens of thousands of British households over time.
It analyses a sample of 1,800 mothers with at least one child aged 14 or 15 who were interviewed in 2010 in detail about how their family was formed.