Sunday, August 25, 2013

European couples rear kids without marriage

I sometimes see this anti-marriage argument:
European countries today have even lower marriage rates than the US. I think something like 80% of Swedish children are born out of wedlock. Yet society has not collapsed. It just evolves.
Dalrock looks at the data, and concludes:
The other thing which stands out in both charts is that there is a huge variation across Europe in out of wedlock birth rates and a much smaller variation in the percent of adolescents living with both parents. Greece has an in wedlock birth rate of 94%, while only 36% of children in Iceland are now born in wedlock. The percent of adolescents in the respective countries living with both parents is a much closer 86% and 70%.

Also, note that no country in Europe is evidence that a collapsing two parent family is no cause for alarm. The most recent data available shows that all European countries have a higher percentage of adolescents living with both parents than the US*; it isn’t Europe that is leading in the area of broken homes, it is the US! Nearly all of the European countries listed have 70% or more of their children raised in an intact home, whether the parents had married prior to the birth of the child or not. Given the continuing fall in out of wedlock birth rates, the results will certainly look worse for adolescents ten and fifteen years from now. The costs to our society are in many ways baked in, even though we won’t fully experience them for many years.
I don't know what the Swedes and other Europeans have against marriage, but they have not rejected the idea that kids need both parents.

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