Stronger economy, longer marriages

NZ Herald 05 Apr 07
Marriage is making a surprising comeback after years of decline, possibly because the strong economy is easing relationship strains. The comeback is small so far: the proportion of two-parent families dropped from 90 per cent of all families with children in 1976, soon after the introduction of the domestic purposes benefit, to a low of 71 per cent in 2001. It has picked up slightly to 72 per cent in the 2006 Census.But a Ministry of Social Development study presented at a social policy conference in Wellington yesterday says other data from the quarterly household labour force survey show the proportion of sole parents peaked in 2003-04 and seems to have begun falling. The decline has been particularly marked in families whose youngest child is under 3, while sole parenthood is still increasing for families whose youngest child is 14 or over.