One vs Two Parents: Effects on Success in Children

The definition of family has changed over the course of the last decade, with more people opting to raise children on their own or to co-habit instead of marry. The effects of these decisions on young children, particularly in terms of their academic, emotional well-being and overall success over time, have been measured by two similar studies conducted in the US and the UK.

Findings are similar across both studies and target populations: children from two parent household fare better across all aspects compared to that of their single-parent counterparts. This may be due to the financial constraints of a single parent income that cannot afford the same level of opportunities enjoyed by children of a dual-income household. However, other factors such as poverty, parents’ educational level, and the age at which children experienced familial upheaval (whether through divorce or death) affected their resilience and ability to cope.

Given that these studies used real data and were not controlled experiments, it is important to note that the main purpose is not to judge parents’ individual choices but to point out ways in which society in general can help these fragile families through programs that can provide additional support to parents and their children, as well as assess the long-term effects of these familial situations on a child’s life success.

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