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Almost Half of England Babies Born out of Wedlock

Pair of wedding bands
Photograph by Getty Images

According to The Telegraph in 1977, just 11 percent of children born in England were to unmarried mothers. In 2012? That figure more than quadrupled to a staggering 47.5 percent.

Although this may seem like a faraway statistic, the United States just as recently as 2007 had 40 percent of all newborns being birthed to unmarried mothers, according to the New York Times.

The newspaper added that it's still unknown whether this has an adverse effect on the outcome of the child (many of the couples which force themselves into marriage as a result of unexpected pregnancy end up in divorce, but then again over half of all marriages in the U.S. end in divorce anyways). But not everyone shares the opinion that there may not be negative effects on children born out of wedlock.

Tim Loughton, the former Children's minister, believes that marriage is necessary to a healthy child's upbringing. "If people are prepared to make a public declaration to each other in front of their friends and family they are more likely to stay together. Without marriage people drift in and out of relationships very easily. ... In families where parents break up children do less well at school, are more likely to suffer mental health problems and are more likely to have substance abuse problems."

Christian Guy, director of a think tank in England, agrees that marriage is important, noting that it provides a financial buoy to help the children involved be in a position for better chances in life. "Marriage is not a right wing obsession, but a crucial social justice issue. People throughout society want to marry but cultural and financial barriers faced by those in the poorest communities thwart their aspirations. ... Evidence shows quite clearly that children growing up with married parents tend to have better life chances."

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