A new study suggests that children whose parents get a divorce are less likely to earn a university degree than those from two-parent families.
Using data from the US Department of Labor, researchers analysed families who had teenage children between 1968 and 2009. The number of years the children spent in school increased for both single and two-parent households. However, teenagers from single parent families had significantly fewer years in full-time education than their peers.
They also found that the gap between how long each group spent in school actually got wider throughout the allotted time period. In the 1980s, students from two-parent families were eight per cent more likely to graduate from college. By 2009, the gap had grown to 17 per cent.
Income, the mother’s age and education, and the number of siblings were all identified as contributing factors to the increasing gap between the two groups.
Kathleen M. Ziol-Guest is a professor at New York University and was one of the study’s authors. She called the results “troubling”, as “children raised in single-parent homes appear to be at a greater disadvantage educationally than ever before”.
Although a number of factors can affect a person’s education, she added, “being raised by a two-parent household has become increasingly important” over the last several years.
Last year, research suggested that parents often underestimate the impact a divorce has on their children.