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Research Archive

February 14, 2024

Want To Slash Your Risk For Divorce? Start Going To Church

Faith is bad for families.  That is often the message that comes out of our pop culture, corporate media, and social media. A Daily Beast headline tells us “Religious Kids are Jerks.” The Nation asks, “Is Conservative Christianity Bad for Marriage?” and offers this answer: “Research Says Yes.” Online influencers like Pearl Davis suggest Christianity does little to stabilize marriage. Put…

February 13, 2024

The Awfulness of Elite Hypocrisy on Marriage

“Is it morally wrong to have a baby outside of marriage?” “No” is the answer I received from about two-thirds of my sociology-of-family class at the University of Virginia last spring, when I put that question to them in an anonymous online poll. The class of approximately 200 students was diverse geographically, racially, and ethnically. But…

February 9, 2024

Don’t Buy the Soulmate Myth

Taylor Swift’s hit song “Lover” is the perfect anthem for this Valentine’s Day, especially since she is in the midst of a very public romance with her latest boyfriend, Travis Kelce. “There’s a dazzling haze, a mysterious way about you,” she sings to her “magnetic force of a man.” This gets the start of a…

January 12, 2024

What is the Utah “Family Miracle”?

I’ve written before about the “Utah Family Miracle,” referencing the fact that no state in America has more families headed by married parents than the Beehive State:   “In 2021, 55% of adults in Utah (ages 18-55) were married and 82% of its children were living in married-couple families. This compares to a national average of 45% of…

December 1, 2023

Red States Can Lead the Way on Marriage and Fatherhood

“If we care about our children, if we care about the vibrancy of our communities, we have no choice but to have the conversation” about absent fatherhood, said Chris Sprowls, who served as a prosecutor in Florida before going on to become speaker of the state house in 2020. In his work on cases involving gangs…

November 27, 2023

For kids, marriage still matters

The science could not be clearer: On average, the children of married parents are more likely to experience happier, healthier and more successful lives. Brookings Institution scholar Melissa Kearney powerfully underscores this truth in her new book “The Two-Parent Privilege,” writing, “The decline in the share of U.S. children living in a two-parent family over…

October 31, 2023

It Takes Two

It is indisputable that children are better off living with two nurturing parents who are in a stable, loving relationship compared to any other living situation. But it gets more contentious from there. Does “stability” require marriage? How important is it to live with two biological parents? What if one (or both) adults are not…

October 27, 2023

What liberals don’t understand about men and marriage

There’s no question the bond between fatherhood and marriage is weaker today than it was 60 years ago. Whereas almost 80% of children were raised in an intact, married home with their father in the early 1960s, today only about 51% have that privilege. In the face of what seems like a fraying father-marriage bond, some left-leaning men’s advocates…

September 21, 2023

The Two-Parent Advantage

“Isn’t divorce less of a big deal for kids these days?” A colleague’s wife asked me this question as we hiked down Parkman Mountain last summer, while taking a break from an academic conference. She asked the question after she learned that I studied American families. “After all,” she added, “we’re more accepting now of…

September 20, 2023

Do Two Parents Matter More Than Ever?

The share of American men and women who think that marriage and a stable family are not important for children in our contemporary world is growing. Either because they adhere to progressive ideas about family diversity, discount the unique value of marriage, or believe that single parents are just as capable of raising children as two parents,…