State, Family and Personal Responsibility: The Changing Balance for Lone Mothers in the UK
In the UK there are about one and a quarter million lone-parent families, making up 19 per cent of all families with children. The numbers of lone parents have almost doubled since the early 1970s and this increase is part of wider patterns of change in family structure. These include, for example, the rise in extra- marital births (now accounting for over a quarter of all births), the increase in cohabitation (half of women have cohabited prior to marriage), the rise in divorce (one in three marriages currently contracted will end in divorce), and the extent of remarriage and cohabitation after divorce (about a quarter of all marriages are second marriages for one or both partners). Kiernan and Wicks (1990) suggest that by the year 2000 it may be that as few as half of all children in Britain will have spent all their lives in a conventional two-parent family with both their natural parents.
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