First-Ever Data Report on Family Well-Being Around the World

2013-01-17 07:30 1100

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time, data are available on family well-being across high and low income countries around the world. Child Trends partnered with scholars at the universities of Virginia and Maryland, and with universities and think tanks around the world, to summarize data on family strengths and challenges, and educational outcomes for children.

World Family Map Report findings include:

  • In the majority of middle- and higher-income countries, children in two-parent families have more positive educational outcomes than those in one parent or no parent homes, (accounting for socioeconomic differences).
    • In lower-income countries, children in single-parent families do just as well or better on a number of educational outcomes than those living with two parents. 
  • Two-parent families are becoming less common, especially in higher income countries, as marriage rates fall; nevertheless, a majority of the world's children still live in homes with two parents.
  • Most adults believe that working mothers can establish just as good relationships with their children as stay-at-home mothers.

"More children are growing up in challenging circumstances worldwide just as many governments are reducing investments in families and children. It is critical to understand the strengths and challenges facing families," Laura Lippman, senior program director, education, Child Trends, co-investigator, World Family Map project said. "When we look at families worldwide, we can identify ways that families support healthy child and youth development, as well as conditions that can undercut positive development."

"The most striking finding from this new report is that children from two-parent families have an advantage in school in higher-income countries but not in lower-income countries," said Brad Wilcox, co-investigator and sociology professor at the University of Virginia. "This suggests that having a second parent present may give children an extra practical and financial educational boost in higher-income countries, whereas this appears less likely to be helpful in lower-income countries."

The report was funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Focus Global, and the Social Trends Institute. Co-sponsors include the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, the University of Asia and the Pacific, the Universidad de la Sabana, the Universidad de los Andes, Universidad de Piura, the Netherlands Youth Institute, and Seoul National University.

Child Trends is a research center studying children at all stages of development, across major domains and contexts.

Contact: Marci Roth, 202-572-6122

Source: Child Trends