The following has been adapted from "For the Record: The Foster Report" in Christian Counseling Connection (American Association of Christian Counselors -- www.AACC.net), vol. 15, issue 4 (2008).
Cohabitation and family life
1. The rate of divorce among those who cohabit prior to marriage is 39% vs. 21% for couples who marry without prior cohabitation. (W. J. Bennett, The Broken Hearth: Reversing the Moral Collapse of the American Family, 2001)
2. Compared to children of married "biological" [I always find that term amusing] parents, children ages 12-17 with cohabiting parents are six times more likely to exhibit emotional and behavioral problems. They are also 122% more likely to be expelled from school and 90% more likely to have a low grade point average. (New Oxford Review 9/07)
3. Rates of serious child abuse are lower in intact families; six times higher in stepfamilies; 14 times higher in always-single-mother families; 20 times higher in cohabiting biological-parent families; and 33 times higher when a mother is cohabiting with a boyfriend who is not the biological father. (New Oxford Review 9/07)
4. 75% of children involved in criminal activity are from cohabiting households.
5. Cohabiters who never marry have 78% less wealth than the continuously married; cohabiters who have been divorced or widowed once have 68% less wealth. (Cohabitation Facts web site)
Other family facts
1. For the first time, unmarried adults represent more than half of American households, 73% of men and 62% of women in their 20s in 2006 have never been married. Just 23.5% of men and 31.5% of women ages 20-29 were married in 2006 vs. 31.5% of men and 39.5% of women in 2000. (USA Today, 9/12/07)
2. "Men today are far more involved with their families than they have been at virtually any other time in the last century," says Michael Kimmel, author of Manhood in America: A Cultural History. In the late 1970s, the average dad spent about a third as much time with his kids as did the average mom. By 2000, that was up to three-fourths. Today men hug their kids more, help with homework more, and tell their kids they love them more. Fathers are beginning to look more like mothers. (Time 10/4/07)
3. More than half of U.S. couples who married in the late 1970s never saw their 25th anniversary. It's the first time since World War II that married people had a less than even chance of still being married 25 years later. (Christian Post 9/21/07)
4. On average, first marriages that end in divorce last about eight years.
5. Girls today are fixating on their flaws, causing them to belittle themselves and even take destructive action. The onslaught of messages and images they constantly receive sets an unrealistic standard of beauty. More than 4 in 10 girls and young women only see their flaws when they look in the mirror. 93% report feeling anxiety or stress about some aspect of their looks when getting ready in the morning. (CNNMoney.com 10/2/07)