It means that life for adults is more chaotic and less rewarding. Married mothers have far lower rates of depression than single or cohabiting mothers. Married women also experience much less domestic violence. Married couples build more wealth than singles or cohabiting couples. Married adults are also healthier, live longer (particularly men) and are more likely to report that they are happy with their lives.
Children pay an even higher price. As Hymowitz writes: "... if you want to analyze the inequality problem -- start with the marriage gap. Virtually all -- 92 percent -- of children whose families make over $75,000 per year are living with (married) parents. On the other end of the income scale, the situation is reversed: only 20 percent of kids in families earning under $15,000 live with both parents."
The evidence is overwhelming. Parental behavior -- that is, choosing to wait until marriage to have children, or not -- is the key determinant of success for children. "Children of single mothers," Hymowitz writes, "have lower grades and educational attainment than kids who grow up with married parents, (SET ITAL) even after controlling for race, family background, and IQ (END ITAL)." And it isn't just the presence of a man in the house that makes married families more successful. "Poverty rates of cohabiting-couple parents are double those of married couples, even controlling for education, immigration status and race."
For those who love social science statistics, there are reams of them about the poor outcomes for kids whose parents didn't marry. They are far more likely to suffer from ill health (physical and mental), joblessness and substance abuse than are kids from intact families. They are 40 times more likely to become victims of sexual abuse. And they are far more likely to become unwed parents themselves.
So by all means raise a glass -- not so much to William and Kate, who've been well feted, but to the institution that holds the secret of success for the rest of us.
To find out more about Mona Charen and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.
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