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Impact on Society
01 June 2010
Is marriage good for children?
Impact on Society
Is marriage good for children? Drawing on their expertise in analysing data, IFS researchers have sought to answer this question by comparing married and non-married parents once other differences such as ethnicity, income and education have been accounted for. They found that such differences explain the better educational performance of children born to married parents, and that these differences, together with differences in the parents’ quality of relationship can explain their better emotional development. This implied that marriage per se does not seem to benefit children.

This research was widely reported in the national media, helping shape the debate about the Conservative Party’s plans to “recognise marriage in the tax system”. These findings also led the Cabinet Office to engage with the IFS in research investigating the link between marriage and relationship stability. This new research suggests marriage has little if any effect in improving relationship stability.