Archive for December, 2011

Parents of Twins, Triplets: “More Likely to Divorce”

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Couples with twins or triplets are more likely to divorce, “with financial stress playing a major role in break-ups,” according to a study by Birmingham University’s School of Social Policy.

Research showed 28 percent of the parents of twins or triplets divorced, compared with 24 percent of other families. The study, “The Effects of Twins and Multiple Births Families and Their Living Standards,” showed that financial pressures are among the most common reasons for the breakdown of families. The report, supported by the Twin and Multiple Births Association (TAMBA), concludes that families with multiple births reported a drop in the income following the births of the children.

These families were twice as likely as families of “singletons” to report “quite difficult” financial stress and were also more likely to be in arrears on bill payments and to have exhausted savings. Twins and triplets experience higher levels of material deprivation as parents struggled to pay for “key child-related items,” including holidays, school uniforms, birthday parties and leisure equipment.

Steve McKay, Birmingham professor of social research, said that “twins and triplets are more likely to be born to married and older couples, who are in paid employment. These factors should provide some degree of ‘protection’ against low income and deprivation, so it is deeply concerning that twins and triplets are experiencing greater levels of material deprivation than singletons and that families are at greater risk of separation and divorce.

The study analyzes government statistics. It concludes that 62 percent of the multiple birth families were worse off financially after the babies, compared with 40 percent of other families.

The Demand for Sons: Not Only in China

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Many Americans recoil at reports from Asia where the preference for sons over daughters accounts for an imbalance of 80-million “missing” females from the normal number of male and female children. Yet while Americans may read with some horror the fate of female embryos and female infants in Asia, they may not realize that American parents, especially fathers, also favor boys over girls.

In “The Demand for Sons: Evidence from Divorce, Fertility and Shotgun Weddings,” published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Gordon Dahl and Enrico Moretti argue that this parental preference affects divorce, child custody, marriage and shotgun weddings when the sex is known before, child support payments, and the decision of the parents not to have any more children.

Among other conclusions, Dahl and Moretti assert that:

> In “shotgun” marriages, those which follow pregnancy in an unmarried couple, data from California suggests that for those who have an ultrasound test, the first-time mothers of boys are much more likely to be married at the time the child is born. “The evidence suggests that fathers who find out the child will be a boy are more likely to marry their partner before delivery,” write Dahl and Moretti.

> Parents with girls are more likely to be divorced or separated than parents with boys. This likelihood, though diminishing in recent years, amounts to a 1 to 7 percent “higher probability of divorce.”

> Divorced fathers are 11 to 22 percent more likely to have custody of their sons in all-boy versus all-girl families.

> In families with at least two children, the probability of parents deciding on having another child is higher for all-girl families than for all-boy families.

Since at least 1941, men have told pollsters that they prefer a boy to a girl. Taking all the evidence together, Dahl and Moretti conclude that parents in the United States prefer sons.