UK family breakdown

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UK family breakdown “epidemic”
The UK has one of the highest rates of family breakdown in the Western world
with just two thirds of children living with both parents, according to research by a
global
development
organisation.
The UK comes only behind Belgium, Latvia and Estonia in the list of countries
where both a child's father and mother live in the same household.
The analysis by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
(OECD) showed that just 68.9 per cent of children live with both parents in the
UK,
well
below
the
average
of
84
per
cent.
The figures have been described as symptomatic of an "appalling epidemic of
family
breakdown"
by
social
justice
campaigners.
The lowest percentage of all was in Latvia at 64.9 per cent, while the highest was
in
Finland
where
it
stood
at
95.2
per
cent.
The UK is in contrast to other Western European countries such as Germany which
stands at 82 per cent, Italy at 92.1 per cent, Spain at 91.5 per cent and France at
79.5 per cent. The United States also had a much higher number of children living
with
both
parents,
at
70.7
per
cent.
The figures, which looked at the living arrangements of children aged between 0
and
14
in
30
OECD
member
countries,
relate
to
2007.
They also show that the proportion of children living with their mother and not
their father in the UK is 27.6 per cent, while for those living with only their father
it
is
just
2.4
per
cent.
Only Latvia has a higher percentage of children living with only their mother, at
30.2
per
cent.
Christian Guy, managing director at the Centre for Social Justice, said: "Timid
politicians are becoming numb to Britain's sky-high family breakdown rates.
Behind too many front doors family instability damages adults and children. Yet,
as these OECD figures show, broken families are not some inevitable feature of
modern
society
or
'social
progress'.
"All kinds of transformational help can be offered to parents and couples when
they come under life's pressures. It is time for people who oppose things that
would stem the tide of breakdown, such as backing marriage as the most stable
path for children, to stop playing politics. Our forgotten families need all the help
we
can
offer."
Harry Benson, communications director at the Marriage Foundation, said the
statistics should "convince politicians of all colours of their utter failure to deal
with
the
central
social
problem
of
our
times".
He added: "The latest UK data tells us that 450 of every 1,000 children will
experience the break-up of their parents before their 16th birthday, largely the
result of the trend away from marriage, in particular the collapse of unmarried
families.
"This appalling epidemic of family breakdown costs the taxpayer at least £44
billion per year, more than the defence budget. Yet government has no policy
whatsoever
to
reduce
or
prevent
the
continued
rise.
"The Marriage Foundation has been established with a primary purpose to confront
this very serious national issue. We will not rest until the tide has been turned."
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