Only 46% of children aged 15-17 in the United States have been raised with both their married biological parents since at or near the time of their birth, according to a new US survey.
The Marriage and Religion Research Institute, (MARRI), a branch of the Family Research Council, released its 4th annual ‘Index of Family Belonging’. Using data from the US Census Bureau, the survey assesses family stability by state, region and ethnic group.
It found that family stability was highest among Asians, for whom the Family Belonging Index is 64%, followed by Whites with an index of 54%. Hispanics have an Index of 41%, Multi-racial families with 37%, Native Americans with 25%, and Blacks with 17%
Utah was the state with the highest value on the Index, with 57% of children raised by their married biological parents. New Jersey, Minnesota and Nebraska also scored highly. Washington DC was the lowest, with an Index of only 17%.
By region, the Northeast has the highest Family Belonging Index (50%) and the South has the lowest (42%).
Speaking at the Family Research Council’s annual conference, Dr Pat Fagan of MARRI called the rate of family breakdown a “National Crisis”. Citing earlier research by MARRI, he said that if most children are growing up in families where their own parents have rejected each other, this exacerbates issues such as crime, poverty, education and health. He added that the reason for this is that “we all need to belong … it’s the deepest human need.”