The Institute for American Values is a non-profit nonpartisan organisation that brings together approximately 100 leading scholars- from across human sciences and across the political spectrum. Together they engage in interdisciplinary discussion, collaborative research and produce joint public statements on the challenges facing families and civil society.
One such publication was ‘Why Marriage Matters: 30 conclusions from the Social Sciences, first published in 2002 and revised for the 3rd edition in 2011. After reviewing the extensive evidence from the social sciences, they noted the following themes:
1. Children are less likely to thrive in cohabiting households compared to intact married families.
2. Family instability is generally bad for children.
3. American family life is becoming increasingly unstable for children.
4. The growing instability of American family life also means that contemporary adults and children are more likely to live in what scholars call ‘complex households’ (eg those with half siblings, step siblings etc)
5. The nation’s retreat from marriage has hit poor and working class communities with particular force.
They then come to 30 specific conclusions that can be summarised into 3 broad fundamental ones:
1. The intact biological married family remains the gold standard for family life in the United States, insofar as children are most likely to thrive-economically, socially and psychologically in this family form.
2. Marriage is an important public good associated with a range of economic, health, educational and safety benefits that help local, state and federal governments serve the common good.
3. The benefits of marriage extend to poor, working class and minority communities
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CLICK HERE to view Footnotes