No matter what the outcome being examined–the quality of the mother-infant relationship, externalizing behavior in childhood (aggression, delinquency, and hyperactivity), delinquency in adolescence, criminality as adults, illness and injury in childhood, early mortality, sexual decision making in adolescence, school problems and dropping out, emotional health, or any other measure of how well or poorly children do in life–the family structure that produces the best outcomes for children, on average, are two biological parents who remain married.
Divorced parents produce the next-best outcomes. Whether the parents remarry or remain single while the children are growing up makes little difference. Never-married women produce the worst outcomes. All of these statements apply after controlling for the family’s socioeconomic status. I know of no other set of important findings that are as broadly accepted by social scientists who follow the technical literature, liberal as well as conservative, and yet are so resolutely ignored by network news programs, editorial writers for the major newspapers, and politicians of both major political parties. (Coming Apart, 158)
It’s worth noting that Murray provides ten footnotes for these claims, referencing 17 different books or articles. Any efforts to address problems of crime, truancy, misbehavior, or most other social ills in this country, which do not address the crisis of marriage, are ignoring an inconvenient truth of elephantine proportions.