A report released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the ill effects of parental divorce and separation on children last well into their adulthoods.

The ABS study, Parental Divorce or Death During Childhood, which is part of its quarterly Social Trends series, says that, “those who experienced parental divorce or separation and those who experienced the death of a parent as a child had lower levels of school completion, employment participation and lower personal income as an adult than those who did not”.

The report demonstrates that children who experience parental divorce or separation are less likely to marry as adults, as well as being more likely to divorce or separate themselves. They are twice as likely as people from intact homes to have had three or more live-in relationships.

It also shows that women who have experienced a divorce or separation as a child will tend to have children younger, with 13 per cent having their first child as a teenager compared with 7 per cent for those women whose parents stayed together.

The Parental Divorce or Death During Childhood report provides clear statistical proof that marriage provides a safety net for children, who are demonstrably vulnerable to breakdowns in important formative relationships.

With one third of all marriages in Australia ending in divorce, much more can be done to create a positive pro-marriage culture within the community, for the good of children and adults.

A media article outlining the main findings of the ABS report can be found by clicking here. The report itself, which is short but detailed and well worth a read, is available here.