Online 'map' focuses on family well-being worldwide

Published: Monday, Jan. 14 2013 10:05 p.m. MST

Still, family life is under tremendous pressure, particularly in higher-income countries, where fewer children are being raised in homes with two parents, compared to the past. Both fertility and marriage rates are falling.

"The irony comes in that it's precisely in countries where two-parent families are most valuable where that family structure is most vulnerable," said Wilcox. "In Europe, North America and Oceania, two-parent households deliver the greatest educational advantages, and it is precisely in those regions where we have seen some of the most dramatic declines in the two-parent, nuclear family."

He noted, as well, that those regions are less likely to have extended family around. "Part of the story is that when extended family is not on the scene much, that is when children need their parents more."

"As more children worldwide are growing up in challenging circumstances and as many governments around the world are reducing investments in families and children, it is critical to understand the strengths as well as the challenges facing families," said Laura Lippman, senior program director for education at Child Trends and co-investigator on the world mapping project, in a written statement accompanying the report. "When we look at families worldwide, we can identify ways that families support child health and youth development, as well as conditions that undercut positive development."

The report was funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Focus Global and the Social Trends Institute, as well as co-sponsored by the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, the University of Asia and the Pacific, the Universidad de la Sabana, the Universidad de los Andes, Universidad de Piura, the Netherlands Youth Institute and the Seoul National University. It can be found online at http://www.worldfamilymap.org/.

Attitudes about family

Most likely to accept voluntary single motherhood: Americas, Europe, Oceania Spain, 80 percent) Least likely: Asia, Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, Jordan and Egypt, 2 percent

Most likely to believe working moms can have as good of relationships with kids as stay-at-home moms: Sweden, 84 percent Least likely: Jordan, 47 percent

Most likely to believe children flourish in a home with both mother and father: Egypt, 99 percent Least likely: Sweden, 47 percent

Adults that “completely trust” their families: Most likely: Jordan, at 97 percent Least likely: Netherlands, at 63 percent

Source: World Family Map 2013

EMAIL: lois@desnews.com, Twitter: Loisco

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