While studies have long shown the negative effects on children of divorce compared to those from two-parent households, a new study has determined that children born to cohabiting couples fare even worse than children from divorced families.
Despite a drop in the divorce rate, "family instability continues to increase for the nation's children overall, mainly because more than 40 per cent of American children will now spend time in a cohabiting household," according to the study, Why Marriage Matters.
It was conducted by the Center for American Families.
The study estimates that about 24 per cent of the nation's children are born to cohabiting couples.
Not only is cohabitation less stable, it is more dangerous for children, it said.
U.S. statistics show that children are at least three times more likely to be physically, sexually or emotionally abused in cohabiting households, compared to children in intact, biological married-parent homes.