Cohabitation, marriage, relationship stability and child outcomes: an update

Study based on data from the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) and the British Cohort Study (BCS). The MCS is a longitudinal study of children which initially sampled almost 19,000 new births across the UK in the early 2000s, with follow-ups at 9 months, 3 years, 5 years and 7 years. The BCS is a longitudinal study of all individuals born in Great Britain in a particular week in April 1970, which has surveyed them at various points throughout their lives, the latest at age 38 in 2008.

This commentary builds on the work of Goodman and Greaves in two important ways. First, it extends their analysis using the MCS to outcomes for children at age 7. Second, it makes use of data from the children of the British Cohort Study (BCS), to better account for the selection of parents
into marriage, without controlling away any of the potential effects of marriage on child outcomes.