24% of parents who are bringing up a child born to both of them say that their relationship is unhappy according to figures from the new Family Stability indicator (pdf).
This set of bonkers statistics has been created as part of Iain Duncan Smith’s attempt to prove that lone parents, step and non-traditional families are one of the causes of poverty and unhappiness. In an embarrassment for the Secretary of State, the numbers actually show that many traditional families are utterly miserable.
IDS ignored this part of the report in a gushing press release last week when he claimed that “A quarter of a million more children were living with both their birth parents in 2012 compared with 2011”.
This represents a rise of 2%, although little can be drawn from the conclusions of the survey which took place before most of the DWP’s welfare reforms had been implemented. This hasn’t stopped IDS taking the credit, despite the authors of the report warning that: “Caution is advised in drawing conclusions on trends in the data based on differences between the two years reported on”.
Taking the figures at face value however, one trend does appear to be emerging. The number of children under 1 year old living with both birth parents has fallen by 6%. Many of the recent changes to social security, in particular the Benefit Cap, may make staying together a financial impossibility for parents in the lowest income households. Whilst Iain Duncan Smith is squandering millions producing daft surveys in an effort to confirm his personal prejudices, his policies are almost certain to force some families apart.
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