Family Fragmentation in Ireland and America

Family strength and stability in Ireland is facing many challenges, as David Quinn of the Irish Independent discusses in his recent article "Who'll Defend Marriage." He writes,

"The health of marriage as a social institution is measured in various ways...For example, how many people are getting married? How many people are divorcing or separating? How many people cohabit either as an alternative to marriage or a precursor to it? Does marriage receive special support and recognition both from society and from the State that protects and encourages it? Above all, how many children are raised by both of their married parents until they are grown up?

Those who think about the health of marriage in Ireland are concerned that just less than half of our population over the age of 18 is married. That is lower than in America. They are concerned that the number of Irish people who have experienced divorce or separation has skyrocketed from 40,000 in 1986 to 250,000 last year. They are concerned that the rate of cohabitation in Ireland is now higher than in the US. They are concerned that the social welfare code actually penalizes marriage. They are also concerned that 28pc of Irish children do not have the advantage of being raised by their two married parents. That is higher than the EU average. Anybody who genuinely cares about the health of marriage has to be as concerned about these trends as an economist is concerned about the rate of inflation or unemployment."

Discussing further the politics of marriage in Ireland, Quinn highlights the significance of social innovations, and the potential, now real, damaging they bring to Irish society. When marriage is either weakened or redefined it always results in family fragmentation, rather than family restoration. Read his article here at the Irish Independent.

Rachel K. Toberty and I have spent the summer researching the cost of family fragmentation in each of the 50 United States, and to examine what States can do to minimize those costs. We will be dropping pieces of information throughout the fall, but look for the answers in the upcoming fall issue of the Regent Law Review.

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