Belfast Telegraph

Monday 14 July 2014

UK in family breakdown 'epidemic'

The UK has one of the highest rates of family breakdown in the Western world with just two thirds of children living with both parents

The UK has one of the highest rates of family breakdown in the Western world with just two thirds of children living with both parents, according to research by a global development organisation.

The UK comes only behind Belgium, Latvia and Estonia in the list of countries where both a child's father and mother live in the same household.

The analysis by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) showed that just 68.9% of children live with both parents in the UK, well below the average of 84%.

The figures have been described as symptomatic of an "appalling epidemic of family breakdown" by social justice campaigners.

The lowest percentage of all was in Latvia at 64.9%, while the highest was in Finland where it stood at 95.2%.

The UK is in contrast to other Western European countries such as Germany which stands at 82%, Italy at 92.1%, Spain at 91.5% and France at 79.5%. The United States also had a much higher number of children living with both parents, at 70.7%.

The figures, which looked at the living arrangements of children aged between 0 and 14 in 30 OECD member countries, relate to 2007.

They also show that the proportion of children living with their mother and not their father in the UK is 27.6%, while for those living with only their father it is just 2.4%.

Only Latvia has a higher percentage of children living with only their mother, at 30.2%.

Christian Guy, managing director at the Centre for Social Justice, said: "Timid politicians are becoming numb to Britain's sky-high family breakdown rates. Behind too many front doors family instability damages adults and children. Yet, as these OECD figures show, broken families are not some inevitable feature of modern society or 'social progress'.

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