Treasure trove of new research on the family


Those interested in family policy have an embarrassment of riches in new research reports issued over the last few months.

Brad Wilcox of the University of Virginia, probably the premier family scholar in the United States, has updated the great resource Why Marriage Matters. This report contains the conclusions of a group of family scholars from a large body of social science research on marriage and family and their importance to society and to child well-being. This edition adds some new findings related to cohabitation and the risks to children from being raised by parents who are living with someone rather than being married.

Dr. Wilcox has also spearheaded an interesting international report, The Sustainable Demographic Dividend, which ably lays out the reasons that nations benefit from population growth and strong families.

The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada has produced a very interesting look at family and family policy in Quebec. The report, A Quebec Family Portrait, describes the parlous state of the family in Quebec – a state that threatens the very existence of the welfare state the province has created.

Elizabeth Marquardt at the Institute for American Values has authored a fascinating and important (and well-written) report called One Parent or Five? This report describes international trends toward replacing current understandings of the family with a model of intentional parenthood where the desires of the person who creates a child using assisted reproduction are more important than any other factor. The report notes that the intention of the parent is not enough to secure child well-being.

Patrick Fagan at the Family Research Council has just issued an Index of Family Belonging and Rejection which gauges rejection and belonging based on parental actions: “whether they marry and belong to each other, or whether they reject one another through divorce or otherwise.” Utah is No. 2 as the state with the most intact families (but the difference between it and the first-place state, Minnesota, is not statistically significant).