New Survey Shows Children Have Fewer Problems at Home and at School When They Live In Intact Married Families that Worship Weekly

Trenton, New Jersey: – A new study released today by New Jersey Family Policy Council in conjunction with Family Research Council, finds that children have fewer problems at school and home when they live with both biological parents and frequently attend religious services.  Drs. Nicholas Zill1  and Philip Fletcher2   co-authored the new study which analyzes data from the National Survey of Children’s Health.

Among their remarkable findings:
1. Children in this group are five times less likely to repeat a grade.
2. Children in this group are less likely to have behavior problems at home and school.
3. Children in this group are more likely to be cooperative and understanding of others’ feelings.
4. Parents of these children report less stress, healthier parent-child relationships, and fewer concerns about their children’s achievement.

These differences hold up even after controlling for family income and poverty, low parent education levels, and race and ethnicity.

The good news, New Jersey ranks 4th regarding the percent of children living with both biological parents, or two adoptive parents. Only North Dakota, Utah and Iowa ranked higher.

Len Deo, Founder & President, released the following statement regarding the study’s findings:

“This new study further illustrates that children thrive most when living in an intact married family that worships weekly. Fewer behavioral problems, less stress, healthier relationships and greater educational achievement are all benefits of this strong family structure.

“Social science data continue to demonstrate overwhelmingly that the intact married family that worships weekly is the greatest generator of human goods and social benefits and is the core strength of the United States. Policy makers should strongly consider whether their policy proposals give support to such a family structure. Children are not the only beneficiaries but also their parents, families, communities, and all of society.”

A copy of the study can be downloaded at: or by contacting Len Deo at (973) 781-1414 for the study or for further comment.

1Dr. Nicholas Zill is the founding president ofChild Trends and the former vice president of Westat, and a member of theNational Academy of Sciences.
2Dr. Philip Fletcher is a research psychologistat Westat.