The proportion of children under 18 living with two parents in the home has risen to 70.4% in 2020, the highest it has been since the early 1990s.
This percentage compares to 25.5% of children who live with one parent and 4.1% who live with neither parent. The report from the Institute for Family Studies had seen a general decline in the percentage of children with two parents in the home, but the trend has lately been slowly climbing back up. However, it is still a far cry away from where it was in 1960, when the percentage of two-parent households was 87.7%.
The survey found that the gains in two-parent households are a direct result of a drop in one-parent households, the latter of which had been rising exponentially since 1960 but had begun a slow decline after 2005 – the same year that two-parent household rates began rising. No-parent households – where the child is taken care of by grandparents, foster parents or other relatives – have remained relatively constant around 4%.
It is important to note that the study includes stepparents and adoptive families within the two-parent household criteria. If only birth parents are considered, the percentage drops from 70.4% to 63.1%.
The rise in high school seniors who were raised by both of their birth parents also has increased – even if ever so slightly – across race. Between 2012 and 2019, white high school seniors saw a 3.3% increase to 59.1%. Hispanic seniors saw a 0.1% increase to 49.8%, and black seniors saw a 5.3% increase to 29.6%.
Two-parent households are proven to be the most beneficial for children to grow up in. According to research gathered by the USCCB, the children in these environments are more likely to attend college, are healthier, are less likely to use drugs, are less likely to be physically or sexually abused, and are less likely to grow up in poverty. Additionally, they have a decreased risk of divorcing and becoming pregnant as a teenager.
This benefit is increased in households where the child is specifically raised by their two biological parents according to a study by the Center for Law and Social Policy. The Center concluded that:
“On average, children who grow up in families with both their biological parents in a low-conflict marriage are better off in several ways than children who grow up in single-, step-, or cohabiting-parent households. Compared to children raised by their married parents, children in other types of families are more likely to achieve lower educational levels, become teen parents, and experience health, behavior, and mental health problems.”
God instituted marriage in the Garden of Eden as the coming together of a man and woman as one flesh (Genesis 2:22-24). They hold fast to one another through a covenantal promise to one another that they will not abandon each other, emulating how God makes a covenantal promise to His people that He will not abandon them even as we consistently turn away from Him (Hosea 3:1).
The most apparent way that a couple becomes one flesh is through the conception of a child. This child is a beautiful image of this process, a unique creation formed through the DNA of his or her mother and father. As the Father provides and cares for His people, parents should provide and care for their children.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. – Psalm 127:3.
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