Higher income couples marry at a much higher rate than those with lower earnings, according to a new report from the think tank the Centre for Social Justice.

Amongst the 20 per cent of the population with the highest incomes, 83 per cent are married, compared only 55 per cent of those earning the least. In other words, the Centre concludes:

“Marriage has become a middle-class secret.”

Parents who are married twice as likely to stay together, the Centre explains. More than half of all unmarried parentsseparate before their children’s fifth birthdays but only 15 per cent of married parents divorce within the same time frame.

The think tank insists:

“These differences matter because family stability has been shown to profoundly affect children’s outcomes. Even when controlling for income and education, children raised in unstable families suffer worse health, are more likely to be excluded, more likely to join a gang and end up as NEET [not in education, employment or training].  The cost of this to the NHS, to the criminal justice system, and to the Treasury – in terms of lost revenues – is huge. “

Read Family Structure Still Matters here.

Image by Kevin Simmons via Flickr (Creative Commons)