World Family Map Report Highlighted at the United Nations13 Jun 2016
Speaking at the fourth annual commemoration of Global Parents’ Day at the UN, STI contributor W. Bradford Wilcox presented conclusions from this and the previous year’s World Family Map reports to an audience of some 200 diplomats and NGO leaders.
The June 1st event, entitled “The Importance of Fatherhood and Motherhood for Integral Development,” was hosted by the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations and co-sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation, in observance of the Global Day of Parents.
The UN General Assembly initiated the Global Day of Parents in 2012 to highlight the important role parents play in the family and in society, noting that “Parents of every race, religion, culture and nationality in all parts of the world are the primary caregivers and teachers of their children, preparing them for a happy, fulfilling and productive life. Parents are the anchors of the family and the foundation of our communities and societies.”
Wilcox, sociologist and Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, expanded on findings from his research for the World Family Map in several areas. He explained that family demographics are changing in many parts of the world, as fertility and marriage rates decline and cohabitation and single parenthood become more common.
He pointed to research that shows that families headed by a mother and a father have the best chance of success. For instance, growing up without a father in the home, boys are more than twice as likely to wind up in prison, and girls are six times more likely to become pregnant. Moreover, two-parent families, Wilcox said, “often have more time, money, attention, kinship support and stability to give to their children.”
Citing conclusions from STI's 2014 World Family Map Report, which focused on child health and well-being outcomes, Wilcox pointed to the connection between family stability and children’s health. Children in stable, two-parent homes, he said, are less likely to suffer from depression, obesity, drug abuse and other afflictions.
These findings speak to the UN’s background statement on the reason for a Global Day of Parents, which affirms children’s’ rights; recognizes parents’ central responsibility in raising them; acknowledges research that demonstrates “the positive impact of active involvement of fathers in the development of their children;” and seeks to address impediments to fulfilling these important societal roles of mother and father.
Watch the proceedings: