Although grown-up concepts such as marriage and children may be some time off, research from the Melbourne Institute points to the importance of addressing such issues early.
Marriage rates in Australia have fallen sharply over recent decades, particularly among young people.
In 1993, just before the start of Gen Z, more than 46 per cent of Australian women got married between the ages of 20 and 24.
The percentage of 20 to 24-year-olds getting married had fallen to 21 per cent by 2013.
The nation’s marriage rate is now at its lowest level since records were collected, prompting concerns about what this might mean at a societal level.
Institute academic David Ribar, in a new paper published in a joint venture between Princeton University and the Brookings Institution, said there was much established research showing a marriage between two parents compared with other living arrangements boosted a child’s wellbeing and development.
But Professor Ribar said finding the factors within marriage that produces such beneficial outcomes was difficult to pinpoint and ranged from parents being able toFrom parents able to pool their incomes to stretch resources further for the benefit of their children to co-ordination of a mother and father’s time. there appears a range of issues at play that delivers children a marriage benefit.
According to Prof Ribar, policies aimed at helping children, such as increased cash payments or more generous health insurance, will struggle because of something innate about marriage.
“While interventions that raise incomes, increase parental time availability, provide alternative services, or provide other in-kind resources would surely benefit children, these are likely to be, at best, only partial substitutes for marriage itself,” he found.
“The advantages of marriage for children appear to be the sum of many, many parts.”