Children raised in homes where their parents are happily married are more likely to do well across a wide swath of measures, from academic achievement to less criminal activity to future prosperity and good health.
They also have better relationships with their parents — especially their fathers — and are less likely to suffer abuse or exhibit aggressive behavior, compared to children raised in less stable environments, according to a Social Capital Project report published by the Joint Economic Committee, called “The Demise of the Happy Two-Parent Home.”
But U.S. policies sometimes penalize married couples and those should be changed, according to Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who chairs the committee.
“The data tell us that the single biggest indicator of a child’s success across a wide spectrum of metrics involves whether that child has been raised by two parents. Typically, that is more likely to happen in a marriage than outside of a marriage relationship,” Lee said, though he noted other factors also contribute to a child’s healthy future.
He called the report an “opportunity to generate ideas about where we might be doing harm as a government,” including looking at social policies that penalize couples for being married. His list includes safety net benefit programs, the Earned Income Tax Credit and others.
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