The implications of family structure for children have been a central focus of public policy and research for decades. This brief highlights trends in family structure for children in the United States over the last few decades and reviews the research evidence on the effects of family structure on children. Research tells us that children do best when they grow up with both biological parents in a low-conflict marriage. On average, children who grow up in other types of family structure are at greater risk for poor outcomes. At the same time, research indicates that most children who are not raised by both parents grow up without serious problems.
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Marriage matters : family structure and child well being.