Australians whose parents divorced when they were children were less likely to marry

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Australian Bureau of Statistics

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Australians whose parents divorced when they were children were less likely to marry and more likely to get divorced themselves, a new report shows.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) report also found that people who had experienced the divorce or the death of a parent in childhood were less likely to complete school and had lower incomes than people who did not.

“The experience of parental divorce or separation, or the death of a parent, can potentially impact adversely on a child’s psychological wellbeing and their economic and social success as adults,” the Australian Social Trends report on Parental Divorce Or Death During Childhood said.

Around one in four people aged 18-34 years had experienced the divorce or separation of their parents during their childhood.

Using data from 2006/07, the ABS discovered people aged 18-24, whose parents had divorced, were more likely to be in a live-in relationship (32 per cent) than those who hadn’t (17 per cent).

However, when it came to getting married, just 42 per cent of people aged 18-34 had tied the knot, compared to 53 per cent of those whose parents stayed together.

Those in the 35-44 and 45-54 age groups of people experiencing parental divorce also had lower rates of marriage compared with people who did not.

However, marriage rates evened out for the 55-64 group, which was less likely to experience parental divorce during childhood.

Divorce was also more likely among those aged 25-34 who got married, the report found.

Some 83 per cent of those who had experienced parental divorce were in their first marriage, compared to 91 per cent of those whose parents hadn’t split up.

Across all age groups, people whose parents had divorced were also twice as likely (10 per cent) to have had three or more live-in relationships compared to those whose parents stayed together (five per cent).

Women whose parents divorced or separated were more likely to have a child at ayoung age, with one-third having a child before 25, including 13 per cent who had their first child as a teenager.

One-quarter of women who did not experience parental divorce had a child before 25 and just seven per cent became teenage mums.

About one in 20 young people aged between 18-24 experienced the death of a parent when they were children.

Those aged between 25-54 years who experienced a parental death had, on average, weekly personal incomes about 18 per cent lower than those who did not.

Meanwhile, people whose parents had divorced or permanently separated when they were children had an income about eight per cent less.

The report also found people who had experienced either parental divorce, separation or death were less likely to finish school.

Sixty-two per cent of 18-24-year-olds who experienced parental divorce completed Year 12 compared with 77 per cent who did not.

Older people up to 54 years whose parents divorced were less likely to finish school by about 10 percentage points.

People who lost a parent were also less likely to complete school, with those aged 45-54 having the biggest difference of eleven percentage points compared to those whose parents lived.

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Mark Keenan

About Mark Keenan

Editor of the Divorce Online blog

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