Child Trends has prepared a new research brief that summarizes key findings of World Family Map 2014, a report released by Child Trends in collaboration with a consortium of international research institutions and non-government organizations. Their work involves monitoring key family indicators affecting child well-being in 60 countries in every region of the world. Overall, their research has shown that much conventional wisdom about families that is held in the U.S. does not necessarily hold true abroad. In particular, some identified worldwide myths include:
- Single moms are more likely to be poor. While it is true in the U.S. that single moms generally have lower income than married moms, in many developing countries, single moms are more likely to be highly educated and higher income than other moms. The research brief notes, “In poorer countries, family change often happens first among elites who have the economic resources and the educational background to experiment with nontraditional family life, or to leave an unsatisfying or abusive marriage.”
- Living together without being married is becoming more common worldwide. While cohabitation is increasing in many regions of the world, it remains uncommon in the more traditional regions of the Middle East and Asia, with the exception of the Philippines. In most countries, the percentage of married adults is still substantially higher than those who are cohabiting.
- Adults are satisfied with family life, but teens are not. While conventional wisdom suggests that teens want nothing to do with their parents, they actually have closer relationships with their parents than is generally perceived. The study revealed that teens, for example, talk quite a bit to their parents.