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More families staying together as divorce rate drops

ABC News
6 July 2010

More families staying together as divorce rate drops

New data on the make-up of Australian families shows divorce rates are decreasing.

The Australian Institute of Family Studies is today releasing a new report which compares relationship, fertility and employment trends over the past 30 years.

Institute director Alan Hayes says families have adapted well to society's changing pressures.

He says there are more families with both parents working than ever before, but the birth rate also remains high.

Professor Hayes says the data has proven people who were pessimistic about the future of the family wrong.

"There are some surprises," he said.

"Around 80 per cent of couples for example spend some time living together before they marry," he said.

"The divorce rate, which of course hit its peak just after the introduction of the Family Law Act, has basically started to show a drop."

Professor Hayes says the number of single-parent families has stayed around the same.

"When the Institute started, people were pessimistic about the future of the family, and there was a discourse about does the family have a future?" he said.

"I think what you see now is it certainly does.

"But it's very difficult to predict what families will look like in 10 or 20 years, given the pace of change that's occurred already."

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